Every election cycle, our beautiful county (and state and nation) is littered with political signs. As an elected official myself, I must confess that I don’t really like them! However, I have come to reluctantly accept that political signs are an unfortunate but necessary part of the process.
Recently (as we do almost every year), we have received some complaints from both major political parties, as well as individual candidates from all parties, including unaffiliated, concerning the unlawful removal / theft of political signs. Personally, I have lost 25-30% of my campaign signs in each election cycle. With that in mind, I would like to remind everyone about the unlawful removal of political signs…and simply encourage folks just to do the right thing.
The first thought that comes to mind is the “Golden Rule – do unto others, as you would have done unto you.” I highly encourage everyone to please support your candidate with as much enthusiasm as you possibly can. This is America, the Land of the Free, and free elections are a part of the foundation of our constitutional republic.
But make no mistake about it, stealing a political sign is a crime! The “Unlawful Removal of signs” is a Class 3 misdemeanor, and is defined as “for a person to steal, deface, vandalize, or unlawfully remove a political sign that is lawfully placed under this section [North Carolina General Statute 136-32(e)].” Class 3 misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of 20 days in jail and a $200 fine.
We have also heard of certain social media “challenges” that promote the unlawful removal of political signs. Again, whether considered a prank or a challenge or regardless of the intent, it is still a crime. So please, inform the young people in your circle of influence of the potential consequences.
At the end of the day, this is not a left or right issue, a liberal or conservative issue, or a political issue of any kind; it is a matter of right and wrong. Do the right thing! Be considerate of one another. Be respectful of those with whom we disagree. Remember, we are all Americans; let’s act like it!
Let me encourage you to live by our motto: At the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office, we are “dedicated to doing the right thing, the right way, for the right reasons.”