TAKOMA PARK, MD – City officials declared a state of emergency Saturday morning as Takoma Park was hammered by flash-floods of political campaign signs, resulting in residents needing to be rescued from the debris.
“We were trapped with no food, water, or sample ballots,” said Margaret Graham, whose husband Frank has been missing since attempting to vote early at the community center. “We desperately tried removing some of the signs, but every time we got rid of one, a campaign volunteer rushed over with three more.”
Graham believes her husband became disoriented in the crush of placards and banners and may have ultimately sought refuge up county, where a campaign sign drought has been in effect for decades. Multiple groups are aiding in the search effort, including the Takoma Park volunteer firefighters, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, and at-large county council candidates seeking extra support in Germantown.
Although dangerous campaign advertising conditions are a biannual occurrence, the recent Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that pushed the 2022 primary date back to July 19 extended the potentially deadly campaign season by a full month. “We weren’t prepared for a crisis of this duration,” said Takoma Park’s Mayor. “Without federal disaster relief assistance, the city may never recover from the budget strain of composting all these signs in two weeks.”
The signage deluge is only expected to worsen as the primary date rapidly approaches. City officials have opened a temporary shelter in the New Hampshire Avenue recreation center for those who have been displaced from their homes by fliers and mailers, though the shelter itself is difficult to see behind a 20 foot Robin Ficker banner.