Destruction, theft of signs common in election years

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 2004

Each election year, thousands of dollars are spent on campaign signs meant to get candidates' names before the voters. And each year, some of those signs are either defaced, destroyed or stolen. Candidates of both parties said this election year has been no exception. One local candidate is offering a reward to catch the culprits who ruined his campaign billboard.

Ray T. Dutey, chairman of the Lawrence County Republican Party, said the GOP signs this year that are most likely to be taken are Bush-Cheney signs. "They're pulling them out of people's yards," Dutey said. "The presidential race seems to be more heated. But we get this every election year."

Mark McCown, secretary-treasurer of the Lawrence County Democratic Party, said democratic candidates are also contending with the theft of signs. Workers at the party headquarters field regular phone calls from candidates who have had signs taken or damaged. Unfortunately, he said there is little anyone can do about the acts of vandalism.

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"About the only thing we can do is complain to the press and order more signs," McCown said.

Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton said he will offer a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who damaged his billboard over the weekend. The billboard, alongside the eastbound lanes of U.S. 52 near Charley Creek Road, cost in excess of $500.

"They had to climb up there. They certainly went out of their way," Sexton said. "Someone knows who did it."

Anyone with information about this or other acts of theft or vandalism of campaign signs may contact the sheriff's office at 532-3525.