The Democratic Party in Tuolumne County has seen campaign property damaged in recent weeks, raising some concerns within the party during an emotional election season.
According to police records, a volunteer at the Democratic Party headquarters in downtown Sonora reported last week that someone painted the front window of the building in an act of vandalism.
Police logs also state that a large campaign sign was destroyed at the corner of Highway 49 and Parrotts Ferry Road in Columbia around the same time.
The sign, according to a string of emails between local Democrats, supported the Obama/Biden campaign. The sign was torn up, according to the emails, though it was restored.
The paint was cleaned up and did not cause any permanent damage. But Democratic Central Committee Chairwoman Sharon Marovich called the incident “very unusual” since it involved an actual building.
“It’s very concerning when people don’t want to obey the rules and feel like they’re outside the law,” she said. “They want to make trouble for others.”
Issues with damaged or stolen signs are pretty common around election time, when candidate supporters practically cover popular intersections with campaign materials. The materials are largely funded by the candidates themselves or campaign committees that receive contributions.
With this year being one that involves multiple local, state and federal positions, as well as the presidential election, stakes feel especially high.
“It’s fairly typical for elections these days. I’m sorry it happens,” Marovich said. “Sometimes people’s emotions and feelings make for some ugly behavior.”
Sgt. Jeff Wilson, Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said the department gets a number of calls about campaign property incidents, mainly with signs. Damaged and stolen signs are not among the department’s highest priority cases, however.
“We do get a certain amount of those reports every election year,” Wilson said. “But I wouldn’t say there’s been any more of those this year than any other year.”