Signs of Political Warfare
"Though sign shenanigans are common in election years, some Republican leaders are calling this year's activity unprecedented. Democratic leaders say attacks are so rampant that supporters should take their yard signs inside at night to protect them.
'A lot of folks are doing sign stake-outs right now,' said Democratic National Committee (news - web sites) spokesman Tony Welch.
Bush and Kerry are locked in a tight battle and have waged an increasingly vitriolic campaign in advance of the Nov. 2 election. The race has again shown a U.S. electorate narrowly divided.
Lawn signs in swing states such as Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have come under attack, and emotions appear to be running high even in traditionally tame states like Kansas.
'I was outraged,' said Lis Ross of Fairway, Kansas, whose 'Kansans for Kerry' sign disappeared last week. 'What made it worse was that they replaced it with a Bush-Cheney sign. I ran out there and ripped it into little pieces.'
Perpetrators are rarely caught and penalties vary widely if they are ever enforced.
In Missouri, the theft of signs supporting Kerry and his running mate, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (news - web sites), is so pervasive that the Cole County Democratic Party in the state capital of Jefferson City this week issued a $1,000 reward to help catch the perpetrators.
'This is the worst year ever,' said county party Chairman Thomas Minihan, who reported that even over-sized signs posted on area highways had been swiped. 'It's costing us twice as much as normal.'
In Michigan, a Bush supporter caught men in the act of chopping down his Bush-Cheney sign. The vandals ran away but left the hatchet..."