Complaints raised about civic election signs

HUMBOLDT — While the election is over and the winners have been called, questions have arisen during this past municipal campaign regarding candidate signage.

Michael Ulriksen, the election returning officer, said there have been three or four complaints and concerns raised regarding proper signage from local candidates, both in regards to signs being stolen and signs being placed without the property owners’ permission.

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Mayoral candidate Harley Bentley released a statement via Facebook on Nov. 4 regarding signs being stolen or vandalized. According to Bentley, he’s seen 42 incidents of theft or vandalism on his signage promoting him for mayor.

Candidates and property owners with concerns are encouraged to phone the city who will direct them to the proper authorities, Ulriksen said. With some concerns of interference of signage going to the RCMP, Ulriksen said some concerns are beyond the power of the returning officer or the bylaw enforcement officer.

“If they were concerned about someone placing a sign on their property without their permission, then they would be able to contact the RCMP if they have concerns of that nature because then...it would be outside of our scope of what we're able to do,” Ulriksen said.

According to S/Sgt. Al Presler, there has only been one sign theft reported to the Humboldt RCMP but was unable to say at this time whether it was the property owner or the candidate who reported it to the RCMP.

“We're going through the steps of investigating and ascertaining who the culprit was,” Presler said.

Tampering with any kind of election signs, be they municipal, provincial, or federal, is a criminal offence, he said, but may fall under different violations.

If a sign was placed illegally on someone’s property, Presler said the property owner does have the right to remove it, either by calling the candidate or removing it themselves, just like anything placed illegally.

Sign violations, including the willful destruction of signage or putting up signs without the property owners’ permission, are criminal offences under mischief, Presler said, while theft of election signage is also a criminal offense.

Presler encouraged anyone with election signs concerns to contact either the city or the RCMP.

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