Law enforcement officials address reports of tampered election signs

Stolen Election Signs Ahead of Political Signs
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 6:57 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - With primary elections less than three weeks away, you may have noticed election signs start to pop up around Bay County. But did you know tampering with election signs is against the law?

“They can’t be on the right-of-way, or they can’t be on state or federal property, so it has to be on someone’s private property. If they trespassed on someone’s property to damage that sign or remove that sign,” Lynn Haven Police Chief Ricky Ramie said.

But it’s a good thing that doesn’t seem to be a common trend this election season.

“We haven’t had any stolen and as of date, I don’t know of any being damaged. Now we have had some that have been reported as moved from their original location,” Ramie said.

Ramie said they’ve received only two reports of election signs being moved from two vacant private properties.

“When you have a presidential election which at times is much larger, we get more reports of this nature. I can say that during this election, two is very minimal compared to other times that we’ve had,” Ramie said.

But Bay County Supervisor of Elections Mark Andersen said there’s a reason it’s not as big of a “situation” this year.

“Signs in general, they’ve just begun to show up. They’re later than normal,” Andersen said.

Not only are signs late, but there are less of them.

“I’ve never seen it this quiet with so few signs, with so few candidates on the local side,” Andersen said.

But that doesn’t deter the message to local candidates and community members.

“We want everybody to play fair and get out and campaign and do your due diligence as a candidate for office,” Ramie said.

And election officials are working to keep fair for all.

Panama City Beach Police, Panama City Police, and The Bay County Sheriff’s Office also tell us they have not received any reports of stolen, moved or damaged election signs.

Offices up for re-election in the primaries include:

  • United States Senator
  • Representative in Congress
  • Governor and Lieutenant Governor
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Attorney General
  • Commissioner of Agriculture
  • State Senator
  • State Representative Districts 5 and 6
  • Retention of Supreme Court Justices
  • Retention of First District of Court Appeal Judges
  • 14th Judicial Circuit Groups 1, 2, 5, and 8
  • County Commissioners Districts 2 and 4
  • County Judge Group 3
  • School Board Members Districts 2, 3, and 5
  • Lake Powell Community Development District Seat 2 and 5

For more information on how you can get prepared ahead of the August 23rd primaries, visit Supervisor of Elections.

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