The wrong way to support a candidate

Published 6:35 pm Wednesday, October 30, 2019

There’s an election underway — this one for councils and boards that make up local government in Beaufort County’s seven municipalities: Aurora, Bath, Belhaven, Chocowinity, Pantego, Washington and Washington Park. As with every election, local or national, the sides of the roads, yards and more are teaming with political signs.

There are laws in North Carolina that define where those signs can be placed. There are also laws that determine the date by which they should be removed after an election. There’s yet another law that determines what could happen if one of those lawfully-placed signs is removed.

Perhaps some people don’t know it is against North Carolina law to steal, deface, vandalize or unlawfully remove a political sign that is lawfully placed. Maybe those people don’t understand that it’s a Class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 20 days in jail and a $200 fine. What are some of North Carolina’s other Class 3 misdemeanors? Well, simple possession of marijuana, driving with a revoked license, trespassing on property where “No Trespassing” signs are posted, theft of cable TV service, stealing sea oats off the dunes of the Outer Banks, general vandalism, impersonation of a fire fighter and emergency medical services personnel, throwing objects at sporting events, taking a minor to a bar, being intoxicated or disruptive in public, operating a school bus after consuming alcohol — the list is several pages long.

A few years ago, during another election year, one county commissioner was incensed that some of his signs were being removed, probably thrown away, in an effort to decrease his visibility in public. Today, there’s talk of the same going on in Washington.

Let’s be clear: not only is removing political signs a crime, it’s also cheating. When it comes to elections, there are few things Americans hate more than cheating. A voter supporting one candidate over another, a candidate who feels threatened by other candidates — neither has the right to remove other candidates’ signs. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s a criminal offense.

So, unless this person or persons taking candidates’ signs wishes to lump themselves in with the likes of cheaters, pot smokers, trespassers, thieves, vandals, impersonators and the disruptive, perhaps he or she should come up with another way to support the candidates of their choice.

We would suggest voting.