Campaign Signs Get A New Life After Election Day

December 10, 2020

 

By Stephanie Leydon

Now that the election season is finally over, Therese Willkomm is preparing for a harvest of sorts.

“This year, we got a bumper crop of signs coming in,” she said.

Campaign signs arrive by the truckload at the University of New Hampshire campus where Willkomm is a clinical associate professor. Along with her occupational therapy students, she’ll transform the signs into devices that help people with limited mobility do everything from fold clothes to eat a meal to manipulate an iPad.

Since she started collecting signs after New Hampshire’s 2016 presidential primary, Willkomm estimates she has created more than 5,000 devices and distributed them — at no charge — to people around the world.

The signs, she said, make durable devices because they’re made from corrugated cardboard and coated in plastic. And while both Republican and Democratic candidates donate signs, the end product is non-partisan.

“You cannot determine whose sign it is,” said Willkomm, “which is great.”

Stephanie Leydon is a feature reporter for WGBH News.

WGBH News

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