Just about every campaign sign placed at the Montgomery County polling location at St. Catherine Labouré Catholic Church in Wheaton was ripped off its post sometime early Thursday before the 10 a.m. start of early voting.
Margie Roher, spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Board of Elections, said Thursday afternoon that she received a call that someone “was frustrated by the signage and just took them down.”
She said her understanding was that the signs were legally placed in the designated area outside the polling place at the church. The site is one of the county’s 11 early voting centers for the June 26 primary that will be open until June 21.
Monika Blaumueller, a Bethesda resident who was at the church Thursday morning placing campaign signs for County Council at-large candidate Loretta Garcia, said she saw a woman tearing the campaign signs off their posts.
Blaumueller said she approached the woman and asked her why she was tearing down the signs.
“She said some pretty homophobic things,” Blaumueller said. She said the woman was against the Democratic Party for its support of gay marriage and was against gay candidates running for office. After making the comments, Blaumueller said the woman got into a car and left.
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Roher said police were called to the early voting center due to the potential vandalism incident, but a report wasn’t made.
By mid-afternoon, when a Bethesda Beat reporter visited the early voting location, all the signs had been put back on their posts and appeared in good condition. A total of 114 voters had cast ballots at the location as of 1 p.m. Thursday.
Update – 2:45 p.m. Friday – Montgomery County police spokeswoman Lucille Baur said Friday afternoon that police did make a supplemental information report regarding the incident in case further information is developed. She said by the time the responding officer made it to the site Thursday the signs had been fixed and no damage appeared to have been done to them. She added that police plan to monitor the site throughout the early voting period.
Signs were back up at the Wheaton early voting center by the afternoon. Credit: Andrew Metcalf
Editor’s note: This story was updated to provide the correct spelling of Lucille Baur’s name.