It's time to vote, so I've been driving by 100's of political signs for months. As I've looked at the same signs over and over, I've formed some thoughts about what works and doesn't work:
1) Political signs for local elections tend to cluster, so anything you can do that stands out from everyone else's signs REALLY stands out.
2) Everyone uses the same color scheme. This makes total sense - American colors are red, white and blue. On the bright side, the odd sign that uses black and red or a slash of yellow really stands out. Usually, though, these stands stand out in a negative way. Figuring out how to incorporate a new color in addition to red, white and blue could possibly work very well.
3) Many unusual or long names stand out negatively. It's just too bad, but some names don't look good on signs. Practically, you can't make a large name big enough without making the entire sign bigger (which might be the key - you stand out through bold text AND a larger sign). If making the name larger won't work, you are going to have to introduce a design element into the name to contrast it with everyone else's.
4) In a cluster of signs all the same size, a sign that is just a little bigger really stands out. If you find yourself producing signs for an election, maybe you should let your competitors put out their signs, then go out with a tape measure and make sure YOUR signs are bigger.
5) Ugly or amateur fonts stand out in a highly negative way. This is a designer bias, but I have no doubt that an ugly font is an ugly font is an ugly font to 90% of the people - ESPECIALLY when the ugly font is next to a beautiful font. Spend a couple of bucks. Try out some options. But make SURE that your font is top notch. Most typefaces are highly affordable.