“Trump 2020 Keep America Great” stickers are popping up on the backs of speed limit and stop signs all over town. Harmless? Not exactly.
The right to post lawn signs on public property is a First Amendment right and the Town does not regulate election signage unless they are impeding sight lines.
In Connecticut, a person who steals, defaces, or vandalizes lawn signs may be subject to criminal charges, including larceny and trespass.
Putting stickers on traffic signs, purchased and placed with taxpayer dollars, is another story.
First Selectman Camillo mentioned the stickers in his Friday Connections e-blast, saying, “We are seeing a proliferation of political stickers being placed on street signs and road signs. Please do not deface public property when exercising your First Amendment right of Freedom of Speech in support of candidates. In doing so, you are breaking the law and anyone caught doing so will be prosecuted.”
On Monday he said the Town is removing the stickers, but they keep popping back up.
Greenwich Police Captain Mark Zuccerella said if police catch someone responsible for the stickers, the charge would be Criminal Mischief.
“The degree depends on the cost to replace. When you clean a sticker off, it ruins the reflective surface,” he said. “The best way to stop them is to keep replacing. The vandals always grow tired and stop.”
RTC chair Dan Quigley said the RTC has prioritized the importance of following the rules with regard to signs and stickers.
“We strongly urge that people respect the laws associated with any public displays of their political preferences during the campaign season,” Quigley said.
The small print on the back of town signs is explicit:
It is UNLAWFUL to deface, detach or remove any official road sign or traffic control device. It is UNLAWFUL to buy or sell this item for scrap or any other purpose, punishable by fine and/or imprisonment. Report sign damage or theft by calling (203) 622-8003.