MARQUETTE — With the August Primary less than three weeks away, political signs can be seen just about anywhere these days.
Multiple ABC 10 reporters have noticed that some of these signs have been altered and not in a good way.
Several ‘Lon Johnson For Congress’ signs were damaged with spray paint. The signs have been since fixed to minimize the damage. Here in Michigan, vandalizing political signs is illegal, and depending on the severity of the damage, criminal charges range from misdemeanor to felony–level.
“It’s destruction of private property,” said Marquette County Undersheriff Mike Klein. “If you put the sign out, it’s property. If people get caught in the act of defacing or damaging that property, we will bring up charges against them depending where the incident occurred would have jurisdiction over that incident.”
The Michigan Department of Transportation has several regulations regarding political signs and where they’re placed. For MDOT, the placing all comes down to one thing: safety.
“We don’t want signs to become a hazard for motorists by interfering with sight lines or distracting people while they’re out driving,” said Dan Weingarten, MDOT Communications Representative. “Any sign that is improperly setup, MDOT has the right to take it out of the right of way.”
Political signs must be at least three feet away from highways that have curbs. MDOT also requires political signs to be removed within 10 days following an election.