A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 11, 2011
“Signs don’t vote”

"Yard/Lawn signs don’t vote” is a popular political adage. However, many politicians also believe that a large show of support, in the form of lawn signs, is usually beneficial. “Signs don’t vote” has been cited in print since at least 1967 and became popular by the 1980s.

Barack Obama’s bestselling book, The Audacity of Hope (2006), stated that “signs don’t vote” was a political saying in Illinois.


24 August 1967, Springfield (MA) Union, “House-to-House Route” by Jane Maroney, pg. 33, col. 7:
Grimaldi Signs
Traditionally, candidates who have only a few campaign signs around town adopt the put-down philosophy that signs don’t vote.

And, traditionally, candidates who have a lot of campaign signs around town argue that the willingness of people to display the signs is a good barometer of public opinion.

6 November 1974, Capital Times (Madison, WI), “Clarenbach Wins With Labor Vote In 78th District” by Rosemary Kendrick, pg. 13, col. 1:
His worry about the uncertainties of a three-way race intensified, he recalled, when he noticed a great many more lawn signs out for Baum and Raemisch than for himself. “But fortunately, lawn signs don’t vote,” he quipped as he celebrated his victory with other Democrats at the Hilton Hotel’s grand ballroom.

Google News Archive
1 October 1981, Spokane (WA) Daily Chronicle, “Rural voters in focus” by Dick Moody, pg. 1, col. 3:
“Well, I’ve never used yard signs before,” Newhouse, a Mabton hop and grape rancher, said yesterday morning while sipping a Coke. “Anyway, yard signs don’t vote,” he added.

Google News Archive
15 September 1982, Spokane (WA) Chronicle, “Democrat vote totals high in GOP stronghold” by Dick Moody, pg. 6, col. 4:
“We have about 190 yards signs up now...we’ll have over a thousand before it is all over. Signs don’t vote, but they are an indication of support and can influence the voter who is undecided,” Guess said.

Google News Archive
14 October 1986, Evening News (Newburgh-Beacon, NY), “Vandlism isn’t a political freedom,” pg. 6A, col. 1:
On more than one occasion, we’ve given thanks that political campaign signs don’t vote. Otherwise, the candidates would naturally put up more of them.

6 August 1993, Boston (MA) Globe, “A Sign of the Times: Political stakeouts Mayoral hopefuls scurry for the best front yards: by Chris Black, Metro, pg. 22:
The politically savvy are fond of saying, “Signs don’t vote,” but few homeowners will agree to put one up unless they back the candidate.

Google Books
How to Win Your First Election
By Susan Guber
Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press
1997
Pg. 82:
Stick to your plan, whatever it is, and remember: Signs don’t vote!

Google Books
The Audacity of Hope:
Thoughts on reclaiming the American dream

By Barack Hussein Obama
New York, NY: Crown Publishers
2006
Pg. 112:
There is a saying in Illinois politics that “signs don’t vote,” meaning that you can’t judge a race by how many signs a candidate has.

Google Books
“Yes we can”:
Barack Obama’s proverbial rhetoric

By Wolfgang Mieder
New York, NY: Peter Lang
2009
Pg. 308:
Signs don’t vote.
There is a saying in Illinois politics that “signs don’t vote,” meaning that you can’t judge a race by how many signs a candidate has.

The Daily Item (Lynn, MA)
Signs of the times with elections looming next month
Originally Published on Monday, October 10, 2011
By Thor Jourgensen / The Daily Item
LYNN - Signs don’t vote goes the saying, but Portland Street resident Ariana Murrell-Rosario said the nine signs on her lawn speak volumes about the political change she hopes will take place when voters go to the polls on Nov. 8.

Albany (NY) Times-Union
Plot thickens in candidate’s neighborhood
Alliance Party’s Hull gets support in his traditionally Democratic neighborhood

By LAUREN STANFORTH Staff writer
Published 12:00 a.m., Tuesday, October 11, 2011
SCHENECTADY—Grand old houses line the blocks of the GE Realty Plot. But this season what’s more noticeable are the political signs that dot their lawns—largely a sea of maroon supporting mayoral candidate Roger Hull.
(...)
“The old adage is signs don’t vote, but having signs is better than not having them,” said Hull, whose lawn is littered with them for himself and his party’s City Council and County Legislature candidates.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Tuesday, October 11, 2011 • Permalink