The election season is heating up across the country, and one Kirkland man’s campaign signs fell victim to vandalism shortly after he posted them along a city street.
Roger Lowe, 83, had two campaign signs for Hillary Clinton made, at a total cost of around $45, and set them in a buffer between his yard and a city sidewalk, a space where campaign signs are permitted by city code.
As he was putting them up people driving by offered both support and criticism, but Lowe said shortly afterwards he woke up to find someone had cut the word “Hillary” out of both signs. A third sign, which was screwed onto his fence, was removed overnight just a day later, he said.
“I think it would be good to say something about my friends and others that I encounter who clearly have strong opinions, that I respect them, and I’d like them to respect mine,” he said. “Vandalism is actually a negative statement for their candidate, for the opposing candidate, so it should be avoided.”
He said he’s never seen a campaign as heated as this years. Emotions are running high, he said, but that shouldn’t be expressed through vandalism.
Lowe reported the incident to police who sent him a complaint form.
Kirkland Police Spokesperson Lt. Rob Saloum said vandalism of political signs didn’t fall under a specific criminal code, but said if the perpetrators were found, it could result in misdemeanor malicious mischief charges. If the signs are located on private property, would-be vandals could also face trespassing charges.
However, Saloum said in his 16 years in Kirkland, he hasn’t seen a rash of political vandalism.
“I wouldn’t say it’s common, not any more than any place else,” he said. “For the most part, the climate in our city is pretty open to people expressing their independent rights and views.”
Any sign may be removed by the city if they are blocking rights-of-way or causing a traffic safety concern, and all political signs must be removed seven days after the election.
Despite the vandalism, Lowe said he will be replacing the signs soon.
For more information on where political signs may be placed, visit the city website.