It’s time for another election and, once again, some Franklin County citizens are taking the low road. Political signs relating to the upcoming county commission election have been stolen or vandalized in eastern Franklin County, in and around Lanark Village.
Under Florida Statute 806.13, the placement of graffiti and other acts of vandalism are considered criminal mischief, a second degree misdemeanor if the damage to such property is $200 or less. If the damage is greater than $200 but less than $1,000, it is a misdemeanor of the first degree. If the damage is $1,000 or greater, it is a felony of the third degree.
When the violation is related to placement of graffiti, there is an additional fine of not less than $250 for a first conviction; not less than $500 for a second conviction; and not less than $1,000 for a third or subsequent conviction. In addition, the perpetrator may be required to perform at least 40 hours of community service and, if possible, perform at least 100 hours of community service that involves the removal of graffiti.
If a minor commits a delinquent act, the parent or legal guardian is liable along with the minor for payment of the fine. If a minor is found to have placed graffiti on any public property or private property, their driver’s license can be revoked for not more than one year.
Bill Snyder, a candidate for the Republican nomination for county commissioner in District 2, said vandals have cost him around $600. He spent much of the day June 5 cleaning the billboard shown above. “They’ll come back and do it again tonight,” he said.
Supervisor of Elections Ida Elliott said complaints related to vandalism should be directed to the state’s attorney’s office. “People pay money for that (election materials), and people shouldn’t go out and vandalize other candidates,” she said. “I know when I ran mine were vandalized bad and that was in 2008, all over the county.”