By Terri Jo Neff |
With all the pre-election hype about possible violence at polling stations for Tuesday’s primary election, the most serious election day misconduct appears to have been a town councilman removing opposition campaign signs.
AZ Free News has confirmed that current Gilbert councilman Scott September is the subject of a criminal investigation initiated Tuesday when a Gilbert police officer was dispatched to the Southeast Regional Library off South Greenfield Road and East Guadalupe Road for a report of a man pulling up campaign signs.
In Arizona, it is a Class 2 misdemeanor for an unauthorized person to “knowingly remove, alter, deface or cover any political sign of any candidate for public office” in the days leading up to an election unless the sign’s location “is hazardous to public safety, obstructs clear vision in the area. or interferes with” the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or is otherwise in violation of state law.
September has been a councilman since April 2020 and was seeking to remain in office on this year’s primary election ballot.
According to public records, September was at the library which serves as a Maricopa County voting center on Tuesday morning when at least two witnesses say they saw him pulling up campaign signs which opposed his election.
Andrew Adams, the Republican chairman of Legislative District 14, had reportedly placed some of the campaign signs near the library property but well outside the mandated 75-foot “no electioneering” buffer zone around official voting locations. It was Adams who told police he actually witnessed September tampering with the signs.
Richard Young, another witness, told the responding officer that he took images of September at the library. Young also reportedly snapped a photo of September’s vehicle to share with police.
September reportedly handed over the signs to Adams at the library. There is no indication any of the signs were damaged.
As of press time, AZ Free News is awaiting a response from the Gilbert Police Department as to whether the investigation has been referred to an outside law enforcement agency given the conflict of interest with the suspect being a town councilman.
If cited and convicted, September faces a sentence of four months in the county jail and / or a fee for each count contained in the conviction.