Our View: Lawn signs are free speech; don't deny it


September 18, 2020

Politics has always been rough-and-tumble, but there’s no reason why we can’t disagree on politics yet still respect each other’s viewpoints. Or each other’s property rights.

We at the Pine Knot News have been getting reports of damage to political lawn signs, mostly discovered by annoyed homeowners first thing in the morning. No party or candidate is immune to the destruction, as it appears every candidate has experienced some kind of damage or theft.

Political lawn signs are an important exercise in First Amendment rights to free speech. We find it hard to understand why any supporter of a political candidate is so overzealous that they believe destroying other candidates’ lawn signs is an effective campaigning tool. So, we stick our heads in the sand and hope such destruction is simply senseless vandalism, a juvenile expression of free speech that directly contradicts our nation’s strong history of unity and respect.

No one really decides whom to vote for based on political lawn signs. But they do serve an important purpose. Not only does it identify the support a candidate may be receiving in the community, it also educates us on who the candidates are and provides a bit of information on them. It’s actually more helpful in an election cycle to see lawn signs than it is to be swayed by television and radio advertising.

That’s because relying on slick advertising campaigns with misleading slogans, gross generalizations, and downright slander does little to truly expose a voter to the proper candidate. We’ve said before that we are disappointed voters choose which political leaders to vote for in the same way they decide which laundry soap to buy. But lawn signs do little more than identify the candidate, the office and, often, the political party. That leaves the voter prepared to know which candidate is running for which office.

Huge, prominent lawn signs on a busy corner or even a small, lone sign in your neighbor’s yard can stir some deep emotions in people. But show your displeasure by taking part in the political process. Vote. Leave the lawns signs alone.


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