As treasurer of the City of Groton Republican Committee, I read William Hart's letter to the editor, "Sign stealer trampled on free speech rights," (April 16), with empathy. This is my second tour as treasurer during an election, and I have to agree: those who destroy, steal, or otherwise beat up election campaign signs, are stealing our free speech rights. Each election, all parties raise money to help get their message to the public. Some are lost to wind and storms, but twice that number appear to have been deliberately removed or destroyed by individuals for unknown motives. Several years ago one individual managed to destroy more than $300 worth of Republican signs by tossing them into the river. All candidates suffer from these occurrences.
Signs on lawns and properties are just one way that voters are made aware of an election and their choices. When others trample those signs, they have attempted to remove one of their rights. Your friends and family members have lost their lives in numerous wars and conflicts defending those rights.
Signs are expensive and, while their value is incomparable to the lives lost in defense of our constitutional rights, respect for their symbolism should be recognized.