Campaign sign theft, vandalism to be expected say affected candidates

ST. GEORGE — Whether posted along the roadside or in someone’s front yard, campaign signs are a hallmark of each election season, but they can also be a tempting target for theft and vandalism.

Campaign signs along Bluff Street in St. George, Utah, Sept. 20, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Occasionally, a campaign sign goes missing or gets drawn on, which St. George City Council candidate Gregg McArthur says is just a normal part of waging a political campaign. He’s already had someone draw horns on a sign with his face on it.

It can be annoying, he says, but not so much that he’s felt a need to go to authorities.

Still, the vandalism was taken up a notch when one of McArthur’s 4 foot-by-8 foot signs posted at the corner of Valley View and Sunset Boulevard was uprooted and stolen about a month ago.

“It must have been hard to get unscrewed and pulled out of the ground,” McArthur said, adding he made sure the larger sign was securely mounted so it could withstand wind and weather.

The larger signs cost McArthur’s campaign around $100 plus posting materials, he said. That is the cost associated with planting the signs personally and not having a sign company do it, which can cost more.

Smaller signs plus materials typically cost between $12 to $25.

“The signs are a big part of your campaign expense,” McArthur said. “It gets spendy and it’s disappointing when you have to put a sign back up.”

If a campaign sign is set up somewhere where it’s bothering someone, McArthur encourages the annoyed party to contact the candidate associated with the sign so they can remove it.

“If the sign’s bugging you, just let us know,” he said.

McArthur isn’t the only candidate who has experienced campaign sign vandalism. Washington City Council member Troy Belliston is seeking reelection and also had one of his signs vandalized, albeit on a smaller scale.

Earlier this month, Belliston posted to social media that one of his smaller signs, one worth around $20, had been run over. Like McArthur, Belliston told St. George News he figured it was just some kids and even laughed it off, saying they could have at least used the sign for something useful like target practice instead of running it into the ground.

Other candidates say they haven’t experienced any incidents of vandalism and that instances of signs, particularly smaller ones, going missing are more likely a result of the wind carrying them away.

“We have had some pretty strong winds,” said Kress Staheli, who is running for Washington City Council. So far he said he hasn’t came across any issues with sign theft or vandalism.

St. George City Council member Jimmie Hughes, who is also running for reelection, said he hasn’t had any problems with signs this year.

“I know when you put your face on a sign it invites people to draw on it,” Hughes said.

While there have been some instances of campaign sign vandalism in the past, there doesn’t appear to have been any notable incidents reported since 2014.

Such incidents are not without potential consequence, however, as stealing a campaign sign from someone’s yard or vandalizing a sign can result in either a misdemeanor theft or criminal mischief charge, St. George Police officer Tiffany Aktin said.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!