Taking That Campaign Sign Could Cost You Big
Tis the season! Not for Christmas lights and gifts and wishing our neighbors joy in this season. Nope, we're talking campaign and election season. The exact opposite of wishing joy on neighbors.
With election season comes political advertisements. Radio, TV, mail in flyers and of course yard signs. There are a LOT of rules when it comes to yard signs, and field signs. You know, those really big ones you see when driving down the interstate propped up in a corn field. If you want to know what you can and can't do with your sign, you can get more info for Iowa here and for Illinois here.
I would say "unfortunately" at this part of the story, but you know it's happening already and will only get worse. Put a sign up for your candidate that somebody doesn't like, there is a chance it gets vandalized or stolen. My mother, in Northern Wisconsin, has had her sign stolen 3 times already. Three! And we have 2 months left to go. She actually told me the police found a giant pile of them in a local dumpster. I told her to keep putting them up...as long as she isn't paying for them. Don't let the vandals, thieves and idiots win.
Here in the Quad Cities, of course it's happening too. I have a Ring doorbell. When there is crime or even suspicious activity, I get an alert and can watch the video. Like most Ring video, this sign theft took place in the dark and was farther away from the camera. So there is no chance this person will be caught. But it really wasn't that late at night and it was just blatant. They didn't run up, steal it and run away. They were just out for a casual walk. Ripped it out the ground. Then kept walking with it in their hands.
If you are somebody that gets offended by a sign you might be thinking "whatever, I'll pay the small fine just to prove my point that candidate "xyz" is terrible". If you are somebody getting signs stolen, you might want to invest in a better camera.
Stealing a campaign yard sign in both Iowa and Illinois is considered "petty theft". The lowest form of theft because it's valued at under $200. (Although I'm sure some of you think it's priceless, that probably won't fly in court.) And while petty theft doesn't sound all that bad. Think again. In Iowa, this misdemeanor can get you fined up to $625 and put in you jail for up to 30 days. In Illinois, it would be considered a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in county jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
Not to mention that if you get caught, that is super embarrassing and you should just move out of that neighborhood, city, state...really the country all together. Let's just get through the Election Season so we can get to the joyful Holiday Season. Oh, by the way, stealing Christmas decorations will get you the same fine. So don't be a jerk then either.