Lysander: Sign stealing a First Amendment violation

— As a candidate running for town council, I am deeply offended and discouraged by the childish behavior and illegal activity involved in the current campaign here in Lysander. By nature, political campaigns bring out offensive and defensive words and actions in candidates and their supporters. Exchanges between camps should still be held to the same standard of professionalism and maturity that constituents expect from their elected officials. Failing to do so, and letting campaign activity deteriorate into mud-slinging, character assassination and unethical behavior, reflects poorly on everyone involved and is an insult to the community as a whole.

In the last six days, 43 24-inch signs costing $10 ea. have been stolen. Most of these signs have been taken from private property. Four 4’x4’ signs have been destroyed, costing our campaign $300. While no one has been caught perpetrating these crimes, in many places they were replaced with signs supporting an opponent. Not only is this activity illegal, but also a violation of our First Amendment right to political speech and should be discouraged by government officials in the jurisdiction.

I do not expect that the sign pilfering will stop until the election is over. I hope that anyone who has stepped up and taken on the responsibility and privilege of being a supporter with a sign on their property will remain vigilant and discourage this activity as best they can.

Melinda Shimer is a Lysander Town Councilor candidate running and a member of Lysander 1st.

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