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Tampering with campaign signs is illegal
By now, the various political campaign signs dotting the landscape at this time of year could be tiresome for some. But the expression of this frustration by damaging or stealing political signs could mean criminal charges.
Removing one of these signs from someone else’s private property constitutes theft. Depending upon the value of the sign, penalties range from just a $500 fine to jail time. Similar penalties exist for vandalizing campaign signs.
In recent weeks, Wilson County sheriff candidate Chris Burchell, Pct. 2 constable candidate Chad Clark, and Floresville mayoral candidate Tom Robles have been among those who have complained of their campaign signs being damaged or stolen.
The placement of political signs also has come into question. During an Oct. 18 candidates’ forum sponsored by the Wilson County News and Texans for Constitutional Government, Floresville businessman Steve Smith informed the city and county candidates in attendance that Chapters 392 and 393 of the Texas Transportation Code contain verbiage related to locating signs in highway rights of way. Section 255.007 of the state’s election code requires that information to be posted on each sign.
As it is illegal for candidates to place signs within rights of way maintained by the Texas Department of Transportation, Smith also reminded candidates that it is illegal to erect signs on private property without first obtaining the landowner’s consent. Smith said some candidates for city office have placed signs on some of his properties without first asking permission.
Candidates who believe that someone has tampered with their lawfully placed campaign signs should call their local law-enforcement agency.
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October 24, 2012 10:42am
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