Political signs are considered by many to be the necessary evil of election season. Like nearly everything else related to elections, the placement and timing for sign displays are regulated by North Carolina law. According to NC G.S. 136-32, political signs can be placed along the right of way no earlier than 30 days before the beginning of early voting. In our case, that's September 18. This fact isn't a mystery. All you need to do is call your local board of elections, and a representative will be more than happy to tell you the date or email you the statute.
Representative Mike Stone (R-NC House 51) knows all of this. He just doesn't care. Today is September 7, and I personally drove by about 20 of Stone's signs along the right-of-way on NC Hwy 24/27 in Harnett County. Another Democratic volunteer reported to me that Stone also has signs along the right-of-way of Nicholson Rd., and in the whereabouts of Swanns Station in Lee County. I took the pictures below this morning. I said that Stone doesn't care; here's why: while the statute says that whoever erected the signs is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, the only penalty is that the signs must be removed by the DOT. And, actually proving that Stone personally erected the signs would be nearly impossible.
So, Mike Stone doesn't care about the law because he won't get caught breaking it. For a guy so neatly tucked into AFP's pocket, all of the conservative lip-service to the rule of law sounds like so much hypocrisy. Remember, too, that this is the candidate who claimed to have no knowledge of the false mailer that went out right before election day in 2010, the mailer which secured his election. My guess on this is that Rep. Stone will be said to have had no knowledge of the fact that 20-30 of his signs, at least, went out a week early. But, his name's on the signs.
Bill Tatum has his work ahead of him in this election. His opponent plays dirty. If you want to support fair, transparent leadership in the General Assembly, volunteer or contribute, and by all means vote for Bill Tatum.
** UPDATE **
An attorney for the Harnett County Board of Elections has notified me that he will be contacting Rep. Stone with respect to these signs. While it can't be proven that Stone placed or authorized the placing of these signs, it's still his name on the cardboard, and therefore his responsibility. Kudos to the Harnett County BOE for working quickly.