Where did the signs go?

Missing political signs in the town of Marcellus may not be missing after all.

Democratic Chairman Bob Dingman said that within days of putting up about 20 political signs for the upcoming elections, nearly all of them had been removed.

"Using political signs to educate the people is part of free speech. Having people steal signs prevents the education of all of us," Dingman said.

However, it is possible that the Department of Transportation came through and picked up the signs because they were in the right of way. According to the DOT, the department does not throw the signs away or send crews out specifically to pull signs that are in the right of way. The DOT also does not keep track of streets or towns that they have taken the signs from.

"We bring them back to our maintenance facility, the garage, in the respective area to the town -- the people that put them out on the road are more than welcome to come and (retrieve them)," said Hank Polech of the DOT's public information office. "They will remain there until after the election."

Dingman said that during past elections, there have been political signs that go missing, bock not to the extent that it's been done this year. His concern is that it appears that the Sen. Barack Obama signs are the ones being taken while signage for other Democrats are being left.

"In one man's doorstep they would pick up the Obama signs and not the Maffei signs," he said. "It's childish."

Polech said the DOT does not pick and choose which signs to pick up. If they are in the right of way, the signs can cause visibility and safety issues and therefore are taken down.

"We do not discriminate. However, it may appear that way if there is a series of signs exclusive to a party placed in the right of way," Polech said. "Party affiliation is not an issue."

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