Both Sides of Voucher Debate Report Stolen Signs

Both Sides of Voucher Debate Report Stolen Signs

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Whit Johnson Reporting The debate over private school vouchers continues to heat up with Election Day just around the corner, and some of the tactics are taking a dirty turn.

We see it almost every election: campaign signs stolen from private property. It's happening now with school vouchers. No one on either side is accepting responsibility, but it shows once again just how passionate people are about this issue.

Throughout an Orem neighborhood the campaign for private school vouchers looks a little one-sided.

Leslie Louw's sign was stolen. She says, "Oh yeah, I was really frustrated when I got up this morning."

She and several of her neighbors had their pro-voucher signs stolen from their front yards. "I just strongly feel to me it's not about vouchers any more. It's about freedom of speech," she said.

Spokespeople against private school vouchers say their signs have been stolen as well, and neither side is pointing fingers at people within the opposing campaign.

Lisa Johnson, with Utahns for Public Schools, said, "It's probably just somebody who feels really strongly and just takes it upon themselves."

Robyn Bagley, with Parents for Choice and Education, said, "There's a lot of passion on both sides of the aisle, and it happens. And we just quickly go out and replace those signs as soon as we can."

In recent months, private school vouchers have been a hot topic for discussion. The vouchers would take state money that would ordinarily be used for transportation, social services and other state programs and give it to parents to send their children to private school. Voucher amounts would range from $500 to $3,000, depending on family income.

Millions of dollars have been spent to promote the message on both sides of the debate, and all sides say they're not going to let a few missing signs stand in their way.

Bagley said, "Don't give up, do not look at the polls, know that your voice does make a difference and if every one of you come out, we'll win."

"We keep focused on what our message is and that's that people should vote against Referendum 1," Johnson said.

Recent polls show people are leaning toward voting against vouchers and referendum one, but both sides say they're feeling confident, and they will continue with their efforts to educate the public.

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