When Stevie Johnson's campaign signs started disappearing from where she placed them, she used her platform. ACT: accountability, communication, and technology. Technology helped her catch who was cutting down her signs.
"That's the way you advertise," Johnson said. "That's the way you get the word out and hope that people learn about your name and your platform."
When twenty signs vanished from Clemson Road and Old National Highway, it cost her campaign.
"You can't go to a football game or on school property to campaign and that's obviously your biggest audience right there," said Johnson. "So you've got to get out into the public."
Volunteers suggested she put up a hunting camera trained on her signs. It didn't take long.
Snapping pictures in three second intervals, it caught a man, clippers in hand, walking to the sign and taking it down in less than 10 seconds.
While campaigning door to door, Johnson spotted the truck and had deputies approach him.
"In this case, this gentleman felt that removing my signs, although no one else's, was to help, helping with litter," said Johnson. "He went on private property each of the times and snipped the signs."
Whether you like them or not, it's unlawful to deface, vandalize, tamper with and remove political campaign signs prior to the election.
"Every single vote is significant," said Johnson. "It's a nonpartisan race meaning that you don't have the backing of a party, you rely really on the back of the individual supporters."
With seven candidates vying for three available seats on the Richland 2 School Board, each candidate knows the race will be tight.
"If you're new in politics and don't have the options of an incumbent who gets to go to all school board events as a school board member and just happens to mention that the election is coming up, you've got to do it the old fashioned way," said Johnson.
Johnson decided not to press charges. Her reason: it doesn't help the students or the schools. The man promised to pay for seven signs.
The League of Women Voters of the Columbia area will help you get to know the Richland 2 School Board candidates better at a candidate's forum. It's Tuesday night at 6:00 at Richland Northeast High School.
Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved.