Commentary

Sign-stealing illegal, discouraging, expensive

By Guy Page

During every contested election, campaign signs are trashed, removed and stolen. This year is no exception. Vermont Daily Chronicle is hearing reports from all over Vermont about the removal or destruction of campaign signs. 

“My yard signs; dislodged, defaced and/or stolen at the Waterbury roundabout last night,” Republican House candidate for Waterbury Kathi Tarrant sent VDC in an email this morning, with the photo above attached. “I will be filing a police report shortly.”

“A friend owns a small business in downtown Waterbury and witnessed someone move my sign way back off of Main St.,” The culprit is a minor town official who, she says, “came to my door on Halloween eve, madder than a hornet, and was banging in a threatening manner. I am starting to feel unsafe in my current environs.”

“Many friends/acquaintances/supporters refuse to display my signs for fear of retribution,” Tarrant said. Republican party officials have contacted the state police, she said – noting that “the state police are stretched pretty thin, by design.”

Like newspaper articles, letters-to-the-editor, Facebook posts, Tweets, campaign signs are media. They are a platform for the candidate to send a message to the voter. Unlike those other media, they are not free. Each costs several bucks (exact amount depends on size, material, volume, etc.), plus the wicket and the time taken to stick them into the ground. Many candidates dip into their own (meager) funds to pay for them. Tarrant paid $716.24, she confirmed.

Sign-trashing is, as the advocacy PR writers like to say, “a non-partisan initiative.” Progressives may have little in common with MAGA candidates but on this fact they agree: someone’s taking their signs, and they wish it would stop.

Speaking with Kathi Tarrant and reading her campaign literature, anyone with an open mind would conclude that here is a person of moderate means who is running because in her heart she believes life in the State of Vermont would be better if she, and others like her, sat in the wooden swivel chairs of the Vermont State House. Progressives and Democrats think likewise about their own candidacies. 

Kathi Tarrant has fire in the belly for making positive change in Vermont. What’s ironic is so does Brenda Siegel, the Democratic candidate for governor whose sign is left unmolested. (No suggestion is that she is involved with the theft/vandalism.) Her policies are abhorrent to pro-lifers and conservatives. But anyone who speaks to Brenda Siegel hears her intense, heartfelt conviction that the State of Vermont isn’t doing right by her people. Kind of like Kathi Tarrant.

So here’s an editorial suggestion: until next Tuesday at 7 pm, let a thousand campaign signs bloom in VT. Voters’ thoughtfulness, not vandals thievery, should determine whether Kathi Tarrant wins the election.

Categories: Commentary

26 replies »

  1. Funny I never hear of Democrat signs being removed or stolen. This is how the inclusive, kind, equitable & diverse Commiecrats roll. We’ll see how happy they’ll be next Wednesday when the rest of the country goes Ultra Maga Then they can steal all the signs they want and keep them as souvenirs.

    • Well, you’re obviously not from the Randolph area where the Republican for state senate has put signs in every possible location while the signs of the Democrat have been disappearing. I’m not for either one but it goes both ways.

  2. Well said Guy. Thanks for that. Having resorted to trail cams in the last election to try to catch sign thieves I know the feeling of having your signs stolen. And one time, on a tip, I went to the State Highway Dept. Maintenance yard and saw a pile of signs that were removed by road crews “because they were in the right of way”. It was disheartening to see mostly Republican signs and very few Democrat signs. More recently the road crews seem to be leaving signs alone.

    • Yes that’s all happening right here in Essex and Burlington also. All signs disappear to a point but the greater majority of disappearing signs are Republicans while Dem signs usually stay. So disheartening when they cost so much and truly do help candidates. The short two allowed weeks for signs before an election should be better tolerated.

  3. Remember folks, if someone is willing to commit a crime by stealing or destroying someone else’ sign to influence an election’s outcome, what makes you think they won’t steal, destroy, or falsely submit someone else’ mail-in ballot — when there is no security mechanism in place for detecting let alone tracking and prosecuting such fraud!

  4. We caught one on camera in South Barre. Wore a mask and gloves investigation is ongoing No Dem sign was touched

  5. I’d booby trap the signs in areas where it is a problem ,easily done, just use your imagination.

    Nothing that will hurt them, just so they think twice before resorting to the same tactics the Nazis used to suppress others.

  6. There has to be some money available to set up cameras in some spots. A few prosecutions and public embarrassment might go a long way restoring a sense of honor, or fear of getting caught, in people accidentally taking the wrong path. Should also apply to the litterbug cult.

  7. It has been happening with every conservative who puts signs out. Funny thing Rohan St Marthe’s are disappearing and Thomas Chittenden’s are in his place. Pretty underhanded if you ask me.

  8. On private property you should be able to put out what ever signs you want. Having said that, I am always glad to see them gone after the elections as in my opinion they are butt ugly, and as such a blight on the beauty which is Vermont . When I go for a ride around the Kingdom the last thing I want to see is political signage ! I can remember what a big deal it was when Vermont outlawed bill boards in 1968. It was viewed as beautification. All these little signs are is uglifications ! I can’t wait until they are gone !

    • I feel the same way about solar panel fields and ridge line monoliths. The Vermont I grew up in was pristine in nature and their were less people. More cows less people make for mush better scenery. The people who were born and raised here took care of Vermont, that’s why everyone wanted to move here. Now, not so much.

      • They didn’t back then either but for the last 35 years of liberal/progressive craziness, everything that stands still or moves is taxed to pay for their crazy ideas. It doesn’t have to be like this unless you vote it. Next Tuesday would be a good time to start changing it.

  9. No question that there is a big problem here, but there is some of it that is actually based on state law being enforced. Until two weeks before an election, they not only must be on private land, but off the right of way, which is 25 feet from the center line. If you measure, that’s as much as 15 feet from the side of many roads. That distance is pretty broadly ignored, and this year, the Secretary of State failed to send out the usual “reminder” letter. So while its totally true that there are growing instances of vandalism, there are some valid situations of enforcement. In think newer candidates are sometimes less aware, and thus more prone to place them on lawns too close to the road. Obviously when some are left standing and others are knocked down or gone, it’s pretty clearly ill will and denying homeowners their right to free speech. But I did want to note the extent of the legal prohibitions.

  10. I had 2 of my signs opposing Prop 22 stolen off my lawn but they left a sign supporting a known conservative.

  11. As usual, the party of “tolerance” is particularly intolerant of those who disagree with them about, well, just about anything. No surprise here. Just sad, sorry tactics by a group of people who very rarely practice what they preach.

  12. Yard signs posted in public places are meant to promote “name recognition” which is all the typical ignoramus voter needs to guide them. A sign placed on private property denotes someone’s personal endorsement, but also should not be the reason to vote a certain way. My suggestion is to remove all party labels from the ballot to force people to do a little homework…

  13. As I drive by the homes of the obvious lefties, I wonder how they reconcile climate change by plastering their lawns with political signs, constructed with biofuels, and how are their signs recycled or repurposed? Are their signs raising their carbon footprint and how will this effect their social credit scores? The signs they steal, same questions. I’ll await their reply.

  14. Perhaps Vermont should further expand their sign laws? No political signs?

    Nobody else is reporting these thefts……Thanks for bringing to light what is clearly a massive issue……

    When I left for Denver in late November 2020…..it was amazing to see what is happening outside our little state. 2 weeks after the election, from Vermont to Denver Colorado it was a complete sea of Trump signs, in NY, on the high plains of Colorado….everywhere….

    Didn’t see many Biden signs, just sayin’

    Next election, GOP should go on the offense, novel idea I know. Put trackers in signs, prosecute everyone that steals a sign. Bet you’d come up with thousands of charges. It would be fun to shine some light on them, post them in the local papers with their photo.

    Might cost some stealers dearly, but we could for warn them, you know they still couldn’t help themselves.

    Like shooting fish in a barrel. Would be good fishin’

  15. Here is the way its gonna go down. Dems keep both the house and the senate. At this moment DOJ has incarcerated many conservative activists, especially the ones who are monitoring the election. 90% of all mainstream media have framed the election as a one issue referendum which is that of abortion. You can’t switch a station without hearing this narrative. Border security, gasoline/oil prices, food inflation, supply chain shortages, are the falling trees that don’t make a sound under the media censorship. Many progressive/dem candidates have infiltrated the republican party as RINOs to dilute the conservative vote allowing the established DEM/Prog to keep their majority. Social media bull horn only promotes Progs/Dems and suppresses and shadow bands conservative candidates. My ballot didn’t even have an alternative choice for Vermont Attorney General, leaving Sarah George which is no choice at all. There are many other subtle persuasions that will sleepwalk the Vermont people into the prison planet that establishment Dems/Progs want us to embrace. And embrace it you will, when the dollar crashes, farmers can’t afford or get fertilizer to grow food and energy is nowhere to be gotten. And reliance on government handouts are the only way to survive. America that you grew up with will no longer exist and so will you. Sorry to be such a downer but that’s what happens when you’re conquered.

  16. “People actually like our policies better on the economy.” – (Democratic blather)

    No, they don’t. Give us a break. If Democrats stopped talking about “the threat to our democracy”, they’d have to discuss their policy failures, which they don’t want to admit. And if they actually listened to voters, they’d have to reverse all their policies. They think all they have to do is “find the right message”, whereas America is saying they’re interested in results, and not a message that is at odds with results.
    Dems get rabid when they see Republicans endorsements…they are the elite, the self-appointed ones to pontificate on what others should think and do…that extends to lawn signs that they don’t like…rip ’em down, tear ’em up…they are a “threat to our democracy.” The Joe Zero drivel is becoming malignant and spreading into the minds of those potential voters who choose not to become informed on the issues and about the candidates…mindless sheep are already running the state and the country…we don’t near more…Vote Republican statewide and nationwide!

  17. A minor town official with nothing better to do than stealing lawn signs, like a 12 year old bored child. A town official is someone we should be able to look up to, and be mature enough to set a good example. If you misbehave at school, or in a public setting one is punished. This minor town official should be punished as well. Nothing less than being suspended without pay, at the very least until the situation is rectified.

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