Controversial election signs targeting a Lewiston, Maine, mayoral candidate were taken down Monday night for failing to meet state ethics regulations.
The signs, which were posted by landlord Joe Dunne, read, "Don't vote for Ho Chi Chin. Vote for more jobs, not more welfare." Although Mayoral candidate Ben Chin called the signs racist, local police and the Maine State Ethics Commission said the message on the signs is protected by free speech.
According to NBC affiliate WCSH, however, the signs were taken down because they cost more than $100, advocated for the defeat of a candidate and were disseminated within 35 days of the election, violating state regulations.
State ethics rules require Dunne to file an expense report with the city and put a disclaimer on the signs to show who paid for them. Dunne said he planned to do so Tuesday.
People in Lewiston called the signs distasteful and told WCSH they can't recall ever seeing this level of negativity in campaigning.
"It's disgusting really to be honest with you," said resident Richard White. "Something like that, to show up there, that's just – that's just wrong. It's against everything that the city of Lewiston is trying to do."
Chin told WCSH he considers the signs "a very personal attack on us and our family," but said they only make him more eager to get out and talk to voters.