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'Emotions are higher,' Are partisan politics to blame for damaged election signs?

Local officials urge community to be on the lookout, respect 'non-partisan' election as damaged signs increase.
Damaged election sign
Posted at 5:16 PM, Mar 18, 2024

GREEN BAY (NBC26) — It's already that time of year where you'll start to see more election signs in front yards. But elected officials say they've never seen them damaged or stolen at this rate before.

  • Video shows vandalized election signs in Green Bay as local elections approach
  • Elected officials believe the 2024 Presidential election and polarizing politics could be to blame.
  • District 8 Alderman Chris Wery said he's had around 20 signs stolen or vandalized within the past three weeks.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

"They can steal your sign, but they can't steal your vote," District 8 alderperson, Chris Wery, said.

And he says someone is stealing and damaging his campaign signs.

"Usually just gets stolen or crumpled up. I've never seen them spray painted," Wery said. "I might take a white spray can and just spray paint my name back over again, and then they'll spray paint it red and I'll just spray paint my name over it, I don't know."

Wery is seeking reelection for District 8 alderperson. He said it's been a record year already with 20 of his signs disappearing within the past three weeks.

Jim Ridderbush, who is also running for the position, called on those who are vandalizing the signs to stop. On Facebook, he posted the following:

"Campaign signs are being stolen and vandalized. This is 100% wrong and must stop. We are better than this. If you are that passionate about your candidate, get out & knock doors, make phone calls, donate to their campaign, VOTE and convince a neighbor to vote. But do not steal or vandalize. None of us want that."

Wery says the 2024 presidential election could be to blame.

"(City council is) nonpartisan, we don't deal with those state and federal issues, but people's minds are still really there and they're really, really getting amped up for it, so I'm thinking emotions are higher," Wery said.

District 4 alderperson, Bill Galvin, has the same message.

"I don't do it [running for office] because of Republicans or Democrats," Galvin said. "I do it because I think what's best for the city of Green Bay."

Alder Galvin said he's already had more than a dozen signs stolen.

"Some of these signs aren't aerodynamic, the wind's not going to take them and blow them a mile away," Galvin said. "They're gone."

Brian Cassidy, a Green Bay resident, said it's happened on his property twice.

"First they came and stole the sign out of [my yard], and this is the second time they've been here and now they've painted it," Cassidy said.

In addressing the political tension, alder Wery keeps it simple.

"We're all one nation, let's just disagree and move on," Wery said.

Both aldermen are calling for the community to be on the lookout for the people doing it and to respect our elections.

Election signs are protected under state law and you could be charged for damaging one.