Old Political Sign in Government Office Raises New Questions

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa - A old political sign is raising questions in Dubuque County. The sign hangs inside the Dubuque County Treasurer's office.

It's a framed political poster from 1934. The poster reads "Vote Straight Democratic Ticket" and has pictures of the Democratic candidates who ran for office that year.

Inside the Dubuque County Treasurer's Office, history is the decor. Historic Iowa license plates and other antiques frame the walls next to the "Vote Straight Democratic Ticket" sign.

County Treasurer Eric Stierman said, "Do I think it's influencing decisions out there on how to vote? I don't think so. If it was illegal I'd take it down."

But Republican voter Kim Ruhter believes it's political propaganda and it's influencing voters. "The most I could make out on that was 'vote straight Democratic ticket' which is offensive to me," Ruhter said.

She says she'd be be offended even if it was Republican sign. The poster can be seen from the indoor public window, but it's hanging in a private office.

Ruhter said, "I would believe the Dubuque County Courthouse belongs to the public and not to the Treasurer. "

Still, Stierman says the poster is historical not political. Stierman said, "If anybody has got a Republican one, I'd be glad to put up there also."

Dubuque County Auditor Denise Dolan, said it does raise a lot of questions, but hanging the poster is not illegal because it's in a private office.

However, the Assistant County Attorney, Chris Corken, said this issue is concerning and she will check into the legalities of it all.
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