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Campaign sign thefts lead to confrontation

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Nov. 5, 2012 at 1:17 pm with No Comments »
November 5, 2012 1:23 pm

Fights over tampering with campaign signs are a time-honored staple of elections, and several accusations have flared in this election’s waning days.

There’s some confusion over what happened to some Rob McKenna signs in Seattle, which is under investigation by Metro Transit, according to the Seattle Times. A Metro employee was accused of removing them, while a union official said the person was actually trying to protect them, the Times wrote.

KHQ of Spokane showed footage of a man taking a sign in support of Referendum 74 and Washington’s same-sex marriage law. It happened at the house of a supporter whose signs disappeared repeatedly until she finally set up a camera and shot video of a man swiping one from her porch, KHQ reported.

But the campaign that has been most aggressive in cataloging these kinds of incidents is the one opposing same-sex marriage, which has an entire photo album documenting them on its Facebook page.

And R-74 opponents have done more than post photos. Spokesman Chip White says they took matters into their own hands after University Place police didn’t investigate some apparent thefts in the city.

It started with an alleged theft that seems particularly brazen. A UP woman posted to her personal Facebook account a picture of two people posing with a bunch of anti-R-74 signs, saying they had stolen them and would probably take some more. She challenged a friend: “Beat that … 24 Baby!!!! What do we win aagain??? (sic)” Her friends cheered her on.

A volunteer tried to file a police report, but White said the officer declined to investigate, saying he would be stepping into the middle of a campaign. So White and another campaign official went to what they believed to be her house in UP last week.

White said they politely asked the man who came to the door to give the signs back. He claimed to not know what they were talking about — until they spotted a pile of signs behind a fence, White said. White said he handed over 22 signs without further protest.

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