Keep hands off the political yard signs

Especially in even-numbered years, campaign signs are as much a part of any town’s fall decor as orange lights and Jack-o-lanterns.

Residents and business owners pop the signs up in their yards to show support for their candidates, and the candidates and parties themselves find places to erect the signs to raise the name recognition of the people they’re trying to get elected.

In Tuesday’s edition of The News, reporter Steve Schulwitz documented a rash of thefts and vandalism of political signs around Northeast Michigan.

Jesse Osmer, a local official with the Republican Party, described sticky notes plastering one sign with vulgar language and others stolen, for example.

Area law enforcement officials said such complaints are common each election season, but said it could be more of an issue now because of heightened political tension and the rise of social media.

Others said it could just be young people out to their usual hijinks.

Whatever the reason, we abhor such acts, which have no place in our or any city.

Peaceful, friendly competition between political candidates –emphasis on peaceful –is an important part of our democracy. Candidates and their supporters should be free to promote their ideas without fear of crude attacks or theft. Likewise, residents should feel free to support those they think would best lead our city, county, region, state or nation without fear that someone who feels differently will come into their yards and damage their signs of support.

Vandalism of other people’s property — political or otherwise –is never OK.

We hope that whoever is behind these recent acts is brought to justice, and we applaud everyone, regardless of their political stripe, who gets involved in the process and proclaims their preferences in a peaceful manner.