The spate of attacks on campaign signs this heated election cycle has created some bipartisan cooperation and collective outrage.
The Pima County Democratic and Republican parties are experiencing the pain of “an epidemic of political-sign theft and damage.” The two organizations have called the vandalism an “an unacceptable assault on free speech” and a “threat to the democratic process.”
The Pima County Democratic and Republican Parties jointly issued the condemnation of political vandalism after receiving “an unusually high number of reports about signs stolen from or damaged on private and public property.”
“We call on all Pima County residents to respect the law – and everyone’s Constitutional right to express an opinion. Should we become aware of anyone who is vandalizing or stealing signs, we will report it to the proper authorities for follow-up action,” said Pima GOP Chairman David Eppihimer and Pima Democrats Chair Alison Jones, in a joint statement.
“We understand that people have strong feelings about this election. Rather than breaking the law to steal signs, we suggest channeling your energy into campaigning for your favorite candidate or cause.”
Under ARS: 16-1019, it is illegal to destroy or otherwise tamper with campaign signs. Defacing or removing election materials, including signs, flyers and mailers, is a class 2 misdemeanor that carries a maximum punishment of four months in jail, a $750 fine plus surcharges, and two years of probation.
The vandalism is not confined to southern Arizona. Earlier this month, a 61-year-old Sedona woman, Julie Ann Engsberg, was cited and released for the theft of President Donald Trump and Senator Martha McSally campaign signs.