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In the past week, we've heard multiple reports of theft and damage to political signs, as well as reports of harassing letters being sent to some of our letter-to-the-editor writers.

It's disheartening to hear this is happening in our community.

As we recently reported, Jefferson City police said they've received reports about political signs being stolen from both major political parties.

"It's not something that members of our party would do, and I don't think Democrats would be involved," said Penny Quigg, Cole County Republican Central Committee chairwoman.

Quigg said election sign vandalism happens in most elections, but she believes it's worse this year. She said the committee is encouraging its members to bring their political signs closer to their homes at night to try to curb the threat of vandalism.

"It could be someone wanting to just do vandalism, but most of the time, we've seen this happen to signs supporting Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden," said Josh Dunne, Cole County Democrat Central Committee chairman. "So we assume it's people primarily against his campaign and supporting Republican President Donald Trump."

State statute considers political sign vandalism an election offense, Cole County Prosecutor Locke Thompson said. The offense would be a misdemeanor for which a person could face up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500 or both, he said.

Also, some of our liberal letter writers have complained they've received "nasty and insulting" letters. Some use the "n" word to describe Black people and espouse conspiracy theories, such as one that claims Bill Gates and George Soros conspired with China to cause the pandemic.

We believe a few bad actors are responsible and the vast majority of people in our community have morality and integrity and wouldn't consider acting this way.

You've likely heard the election season cliche: "This is the most important election in the history of our country." We've heard it said by people here in town as well as President Donald Trump. Perhaps, this year, it's true.

But let's not let the high stakes tempt us to take the low road.

We show each other a baseline of respect — civility — in other areas of life. Let's not make the political season an exception.

News Tribune

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