Is it illegal to deface political signs?

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bbhack
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Is it illegal to deface political signs?

#1

Post by bbhack » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:13 pm

Asking for a friend. I did a little research and just can't tell. I think they remain the property of the campaign, but the volunteers never pick them up after the elections. At that point they are trash.
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bbhack
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Re: Is it illegal to deface political signs?

#2

Post by bbhack » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:14 pm

Maybe deface is the wrong word. Maybe redesign? Or post an opposing viewpoint with a sharpie?
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G.A. Heath
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Re: Is it illegal to deface political signs?

#3

Post by G.A. Heath » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:24 pm

Is it the property of the person defacing it? Does the person defacing it have permission from the owner to do so? If the answer is no to both it would at the very least be vandalism.
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WildBill
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Re: Is it illegal to deface political signs?

#4

Post by WildBill » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:29 pm

I am not a lawyer, but I would think it would depend on where the signs are located
and whether or not the land owner gave permission to post the signs. My thinking
is that if the signs are on public land then they would be trash the same as if some
one dumped them. If they are on private property they belong to the land owner.
In other words, if the sign doesn't belong to the person who is defacing it, they are
destroying someone else's property.
That's just my opinion.
Last edited by WildBill on Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Flightmare
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Re: Is it illegal to deface political signs?

#5

Post by Flightmare » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:31 pm

I would not advocate interfering with anyone's campaign signs.

That being said, in the 2018 election, I pondered offering a deal with some of the folks in my neighborhood who supported Beto. The deal would be that the person whose candidate won, would be allowed to have the campaign signs of the losing candidate. Now I know what you might be thinking, why would I want a Beto sign. The answer is, campaign signs make for great place to stick adhesive and/or paper targets.

I never did make that offer, mostly because those on nextdoor who were Beto supporters seemed a bit on edge. I would rather not do something that would set them off unnecessarily.
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Jago668
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Re: Is it illegal to deface political signs?

#6

Post by Jago668 » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:32 pm

Have you called the campaign? They might be willing to let you have it. You are under no obligation to volunteer why you want it. If you want to be on the safe side, record the call.
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Re: Is it illegal to deface political signs?

#7

Post by Rob72 » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:32 pm

bbhack wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:13 pm
...but the volunteers never pick them up after the elections. At that point they are trash.
If it is after an election is held, and the banner(s) are in a public space, they are abandoned property. If the banner is posted on someone else's property, or on a billboard, no they may not be removed without permission from the property owner. The placards or banners left in/on an easement are free game. If questioned (I never have been), I would answer that I was collecting them to recycle them, and ask if the campaigner wanted them back.


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Re: Is it illegal to deface political signs?

#8

Post by jason812 » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:37 pm

On your property, do what you want. Claim its your 1st amendment right which it should be. Especially if you donated to the campaign to receive the sign. I would not mess with signs in public or on another's property but I have thought about getting a sign to do what the OP is thinking.

You could always make your own sign to say something about a candidate.

I am not a lawyer and this is probably bad advice.
Last edited by jason812 on Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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WildBill
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Re: Is it illegal to deface political signs?

#9

Post by WildBill » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:37 pm

My city has volunteers that collect "bandit signs" that violate city ordinances.
https://www.leaguecity.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2094
I would think that most cities would appreciate concerned citizens helping out local government.
Last edited by WildBill on Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jason812
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Re: Is it illegal to deface political signs?

#10

Post by jason812 » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:39 pm

WildBill wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:37 pm
My city has volunteers that collect "bandit signs" that violate city ordinances.
https://www.leaguecity.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2094
On another note, if you can get the big corrugated plastic signs that are left over, they make good target backers or keep you from getting dirty when you crawl on the ground under a truck, tractor, or car.


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Re: Is it illegal to deface political signs?

#11

Post by LDP » Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:10 pm

I am no lawyer but if you own neither the property nor the signs, defacing them would be an act of vandalism, no?

Not that I condone political signs left out and forgotten months after all the campaigning.

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