WDOT says local man's election signs break the law - KPTV - FOX 12

WSDOT says local man's election signs break the law

Posted: Updated: Oct 25, 2012 08:39 AM
VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -

A Vancouver man has come up with a creative new way to appeal to voters, but the state says his methods are against the law.

Christian Berrigan's custom-made election signs are designed to look like diamond-shaped traffic signs.

"We wanted to put the driver in the emotional process of waiting in line to pay toll," said Berrigan.

Berrigan's signs are an off-the-wall attempt to inform bridge-bound commuters of the possibility of tolls on the I-5 bridge if Proposition 1 passes this November.

"We literally had people stop and roll down their window look at us and say , ‘You guys, my cheeks are burning from the slap you just gave me,' and it shows that people need to wake up and pay attention," said Berrigan.

But, drivers slowing down to understand his message is exactly why the Washington State Department of Transportation says the election signs are illegal.

The Department of Transportation says the signs look too much like traffic signs, which distracts drivers and creates safety concerns.

Washington state law says it is illegal to make a sign which is likely to be mistaken for a traffic sign and uses words similar to directions that could be construed as giving warning to traffic.

But Berrigan says his signs are within the law.

"The fact is the law specifically says you not allowed having a sign that mimics a traffic sign, if it could be interpreted as being a real sign. That is why we have a sign at the top of our sign that says this is not as an official sign," said Berrigan.

Berrigan hopes the legal debate over his signs doesn't dilute the message he's hoping to get across but instead helps voters make an informed decision this November.

"I know that we're getting the issue in front of people that otherwise weren't paying attention to the issue," said Berrigan. "We will make a difference."

If the state wanted to move forward with enforcing the law, Berrigan will get a 15-day notice to remove his signs, or he could face misdemeanor charges.

Berrigan says he would be willing to comply with that if it came to that point. In the meantime, he will continue delivering his message at intersections across Vancouver.

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