It is illegal to take campaign signs - call 911

Saturday, October 12, 2019

From a previous year's campaigns
Photo by Steven H. Robinson
By Diane Hettrick

It is campaign season and campaign signs are sprouting everywhere. They are also disappearing everywhere.

This is very frustrating - and expensive - for the campaigns. Those signs are very expensive and most of our local campaigns are run on a shoestring.

There is a state law against stealing signs. RCW 29A.84.040. I'll summarize.

Removing or defacing campaign signs without authorization is a misdemeanor carrying the possibility of imprisonment not to exceed 90 days and/or a fine not to exceed $1000. 
The defacement or removal of each item constitutes a separate violation.

In previous years of contentious contests, campaigns often accused opponents of stealing their signs. Many years back, Shoreline City staff used to pick up stacks of signs that were placed in illegal places.

Everyone seems to be more sophisticated these days. Campaigns don't make unfounded accusations and they know where to put their signs.

I checked with Shoreline Assistant City Manager John Norris to see what the City was doing.

The City does sometimes collect signs that are placed in the right of way if they are placed in locations that become line of site hazards for drivers, placed in the medians of the right of way, which can also cause a hazard, or placed where we have underground irrigation piping (which is mostly along Aurora), as signs can puncture the irrigation system.

Further, he said that when the City does pick up signs they make an effort to contact the campaign and encourage them to come collect them from City Hall.

Several seasons ago, people in Shoreline were posting photos of a man with a white van who was clearing the street of all campaign signs.

I asked Shoreline Police Chief Shawn Ledford what he wanted people to do when they see someone like that, taking signs.

He said, "Call 911."

Get some details and photos, if you can. A description of the person(s), location, direction they are traveling. If they are associated with a vehicle, get description and license plate if possible.

Election Day is November 5, 2019. Campaign signs need to be picked up within 5 days. Campaigns invariably miss a few signs - if you can, contact the campaign and let them know the location of the sign. Or contact me and I'll let them know. 


Anonymous,  October 12, 2019 at 8:02 PM  

To say the signs are put in unsafe vision blocking locations ONLY on Aurora is in no way true. The signs are usually all over the corners of Meridian and 175th intersection. The signs are usually all along the sidewalk on Meridian blocking entry and exit vision of drivers going in and out of the new Edwin Pratt preschool where there is also a busy crosswalk. The signs are further, always along 185th street at the entrance/exit to Spartan Rec Center and Senior Center dangerously blocking the drivers line of sight. I pulled them all out one year so I could SEE to make a left turn SAFELY, as the prior day I nearly pulled out in front of the Metro Bus My feeling is NONE of any kind of sign should be allowed to be posted in such a manner. Not Shoreline Little League, not Weight Watcher Meeting,not campaign signs. The organization that posted the sign should be the ones charged with the misdemeanor. Also to say in above article that campaigns don't make unfounded accusations and know where to place their signs is the most ridiculous comment about campaigns that I've ever heard.

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