They may not actually change many votes, but they can can call attention to down-ballot races and issues that many voters ignore. Just last year my school district held an election on a Saturday in August where the only things on the ballot were a couple of bond issues. Yard signs distributed by a “Vote No” group were credited with contributing to the defeat of the bonds by merely making people aware of an issue that would otherwise be largely ignored.
I do agree that signs for major campaigns - presidential, congressional, gubernatorial, etc. are largely just somebody saying “look what I think” and don’t have much impact either way.
Are you referring to City of Ladue v. Gilleo? That decision does not seem to distinguish between political and other signs.
Where I grew up, the HOA had a “no signs except ‘For Sale’” rule, but somebody challenged it when they got a complaint over putting up a sign for a candidate in a county supervisor’s election, and eventually a court ruled that such signs were protected speech.
When I started reading I assumed you’d give examples of non-election signs with more controversial opinions or even the kinds of politico-social opinions some people would ban as ‘hate speech’, or even actual threats against other people (IOW expression you really don’t have a right to even in the US system). Which doesn’t necessarily mean municipalities can’t prohibit you putting up a sign, or at least write such laws and have them on the books until overturned in court (which might be among the reasons such laws aren’t enforced).
Anyway the actual examples turned out pretty tame. I don’t see how anyone could seriously object to the content of any of those, as opposed to objecting to the eyesore of signs set up all over the place, and maybe a slippery slope toward ones expressing things that cause more upset and eventual conflict (as when somebody rips it down, gets in a fight with the property owner, etc).
When I drive in lower upstate NY to my daughter’s place I often see lawn signs objecting to NYS’s new tighter gun law even though it’s already passed. Around where I live in NJ right near the City there generally aren’t lawns. Some people have stuff outside the house or in the windows you could arguably include under socio-political expression like gay flags, pictures of religious figures, etc., but worded signs aren’t common outside election time.
The only ones that bother me are what I call “anti-glurge.” Glurge is like angels and rainbows and sappy syrupy language, usually in conveniently illegible cursive fonts. Glurge tells stories about God or people intervening in ways that are meant to wrest a tear from the eye of the saltiest sailor.
Anti-glurge is scare tactics, or horror stories. They are generally told in bold red lettering, with green background to make it “pop” toward you. They often include stories of little children being abused or injured, or members of our armed forces in fear for the safety of their families back home. Gruesome photos are not unusual. Everything PETA has ever produced is anti-glurge, but it’s also the favorite communication mode of the NRA. One of the few things they agree on.
There was an example here on the Dope a while back - something about a sign specifically frightening to children. That one would’ve bothered me, although I don’t recall the details.
But all-in-all I’m cool with it. I want to know which are the Trump-supporting neighbors, and which are the ones who want our neighborhood to be a welcoming place. I will direct my social energies accordingly.