The vandalism and theft of campaign signs has recently been occurring in the Gleneagle area and in Colorado Springs.
A joint press release was issued by the El Paso County Republican and Democratic parties Oct. 9 asking the community to respect the property of others and their individual beliefs.
“Emotions run high during the election season and we all want to support our candidates,” Kathleen Ricker, chair of the El Paso County Republican Party, said. “Showing that support, however, should never include destroying the opposition's campaign signs. It is a crime to steal or destroy signs.”
The chair of the El Paso County Democratic Party Eli Bremer added, “All that vandalism does is leave trash lying around our beautiful city. There is no need for either side to be doing this sort of thing.”
Lt. Jeff Kramer, spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, said that stealing campaign signs would most likely be considered a misdemeanor theft but it would depend on the value of the item taken.
Both parties charge $5 dollars for campaign signs and the cost can add it up if a citizen purchases multiple signs.
The El Paso County Election Department said in a press release issued Oct. 10 that it is unlawful to remove properly placed political campaign signs 45 days before an election and up to four days after. There is a $750 fine for unauthorized movement of political signs from someone' property or right-of-way.
Kramer said if signs are stolen from people's yards then it becomes a trespass issue. It becomes second degree criminal trespassing if the yard is fenced in.
“We encourage people to report it. The more reports we have we can identify patterns,” Kramer said.
Citizens can call the non-emergency line at 719-390-5555 or report the incident online at http://shr.elpasococom.