With the election season in full swing, political campaign signs have also hit the street and homes in full force around communities, including Gig Harbor.
However, one Gig Harbor resident Jay Johnson is not happy with signs mysteriously disappearing.
“You put them up one day and the next day, they’re gone,” he said. “It’s pretty bizarre.”
Unlike in the past, he said the signs are disappearing regardless of the party.
“It’s not just us. It’s everybody,” he said.
Johnson, who also serves as the campaign manager for 6th Congressional District GOP candidate Jesse Young, said he and his campaign volunteers have caught several people taking down signs without their permission.
He even found an area off the intersection of 24th Street NW and 14th Avenue NW that has become dumping grounds for political signs—both past and current.
Johnson said he learned about the area when he stopped to thank a Pierce County worker for mowing the grass around the political signs.
Removing campaign signs without permission is illegal, the confirms.
So far, Young’s campaign has put up about 8,000 signs throughout six counties from Aberdeen to Port Angeles, and a third of them have gone missing, Johnson said.
“I understand that the signs are ugly. I don’t like them,” he said. “But we got a process in this country in electing people, and one of the ways they get known is by putting up their signs. It’s an inexpensive way of contacting a large number of people.”
But when signs suddenly go missing, it can get pretty pricey.
According to Johnson, the cost of printing and assembling a single sign can run anywhere from $4 to $10.
“Not everybody can get a volunteer force together to do all the labor for free. So you have to pay somebody to put them out and even maintain them,” he said.
For candidates with smaller campaigns like Jerry Costello, who’s running for Pierce County Superior Court, Johnson said funding is typically produced out-of-pocket or from donations.
“They don’t typically raise a whole lot of money so if they got to spend $7,000 to $8,000 on signs, that’s a lot of money for small campaigns,” he said.
On the other hand, Young's Democratic counterpart, Derek Kilmer's communications director Matthew Randazzo said they have not seen a signficant increase in missing signs.
“We’ve had a couple incidents, but nothing unusual,” he said. “It happens every campaign.”
For those who are counting down the days until the signs go away, parties are required to remove them within seven days after the Nov. 6 elections.