Signs dot the area

Published 12:01 am Monday, August 1, 2011

Signs promoting candidates for Tuesday’s upcoming election line the side of St. Catherine Street. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — If you can’t judge a book by its cover, then you certainly can’t gauge a voter by his campaign signs.

In fact, a number of local residents willingly fess up that they’ve spent at least a portion of the current campaign season collecting signs for the fun of it.

Natchez resident Lee Ann Porter’s yard was an official hotspot for candidates in need of support.

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“I just liked having the signs in my yard,” she said. “I guess you could say I collect them.”

Porter had a sign of support for a candidate in each race, but that wasn’t enough for her.

“I just started with one sign in May,” she said. “And after about a month I realized I had a sign for every race in the election, and I found myself wanting more.”

And true collectors even boast signs of competitors in the same race, Natchez resident Jermaine Nelson said.

“People just came by and gave me signs,” Nelson said. “I really didn’t know what to do with them other than go and put them up in my yard.”

Nelson’s Franklin Street residence sports three campaign signs, including two of competitors for the district 3 supervisor seat.

“I knew they were running for the same position,” Nelson said. “I just thought it would be more fair to put them both up, since I got them both from some very nice people.”

Nelson displayed what he was given, but Porter took it a step further, gathering unwanted signs from her neighbors or calling candidates to complete her collection.

But other residents whose yards scream of political interest may not be as involved as you think.

Natchez resident Walter Rogers said his yard full of signs for candidates in the same race was not of his on doing.

“I just woke up one morning, and there were new signs next to the old ones,” he said. “I didn’t know we had an elections sign bandit running around trying to even out the support.”

Rogers said the extra signs have wound up in his yard more than once since campaigning began, and every time he sees it happen he simply takes them out.

“That’s all you really can do,” he said. “I know who I support, and the only thing I can do is continue to support them and hope for the best.”

Porter’s thrill of sign collecting escalated until she finally decided she had had enough.

“As the elections got closer, I thought about it and realized that I was probably confusing some people,” she said. “I had signs in my yard for races I wouldn’t even get to vote in.”

Porter said she removed all the signs of candidates she didn’t support to give some clarity to the community on her own opinions.

“It’s the issues that really matter, not the colors on the sign,” she said. “I had my few weeks of fun, but these elections are too important for me to worry about silly things like that.”

Rogers agreed, saying he hopes the sign bandits will leave his yard alone after the election.

“Election time is crazy for everyone,” he said. “I just want to know the results so I can get on with life after the elections.”