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A Massachusetts Trump supporter grew tired of people coming onto his property and stealing his political yard signs advocating for President Donald Trump's re-election. Now his signs are surrounded by an electric fence.

And so far, it's working.

What's going on?

John Oliveria, 54, of New Bedford had had it with people stealing his Trump 2020 signs — so he decided take on the thieves by installing his own preventative measure.

The lifelong Democrat who recently jumped ship and joined the Republican Party told WJAR-TV that at least six pro-Trump signs had been snagged from his lawn.

He said he filed two police reports, but nothing was done. So he took measures into his own hands.

Now there is a small electric fence surrounding his lone Trump 2020 sign.

"It's a shame that I have to do this," Oliveria told WJAR. "I believe in the president. Obviously, people didn't like that."

"Horse wire carries a charge," he said. "It will certainly will send a message."

The disabled 20-year Navy veteran said that a few weeks after he first started displaying the Trump signs in his yard, they began disappearing — and in broad daylight, he told South Coast Today. He said the signs were on his lawn when he left in the mornings but were gone when he returned in the afternoons.

After filing the police reports he decided he was "done with it" and had had enough, WJAR said.

"I'm just trying to make a statement and say what I believe in," Oliveria told WJAR. "Our country is about different opinions and being able to voice those opinions in a fair and equitable manner.

"And when you're taking people's signs, that's not fair and equitable," he said.

Oliveria told South Coast Today that the 3-foot-tall, triangle fence, which is solar powered, looks terrible and that he expects his neighbors will complain about it. But he said he didn't know what else to do.

He figures he has lost about $100 worth of materials because of the thefts, South Coast Today reported.

Is it working?

For the last two weeks, the sign with its protective fence has stood untouched.

"You have to be able to respect each other, because we'll never get anything accomplished if you don't," he warned.

"Don't mess with my right to free speech," Oliveria told WJAR.

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Bill Filed To Ban Sheriffs, Deputies From Massachusetts Polling Places

SEPT. 22, 2020 (State House News Service) — A New Bedford lawmaker is proposing to amend the state law that deals with the preservation of order by police at polling locations by banning sheriffs and their deputies from showing up to maintain order among voters and sign-holders.

Under a bill (HD 5270) filed Friday by Rep. Antonio Cabral, no county or state law enforcement officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff or special sheriff would be “permitted on the premises of a polling place or within 300 feet of a polling place to preserve order or to protect the election officers and supervisors from any interference with their duties or to aid in enforcing the laws relating to elections without the express written approval of both the secretary of public safety and security and the board or officer in charge of the police force of the city or town.” People who work for a sheriff or on a sheriff’s behalf would similarly be banned.

Among those who would be barred from polling places under Cabral’s bill would be Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson, a Republican and staunch supporter of President Donald Trump with whom Cabral has previously feuded. In 2017, the House passed a Cabral bill to ban inmate labor outside the borders of Massachusetts. The legislation was aimed at Hodgson, who had suggested he would offer up his prisoners as labor to build Trump’s border wall.

Nine other representatives, including co-filer Rep. William Straus of Mattapoisett, and Sen. Michael Brady have co-sponsored Cabral’s bill, which is on the docket in the House clerk’s office but has not yet been assigned to a committee.

Though Cabral’s bill does not appear to address this type of situation, a 2016 visit to a New Bedford polling place sparked outrage and concern. In 2016, former President Bill Clinton met Hillary Clinton supporters and voters outside a polling location in the city, which led to complaints that access to the voting booth was infringed upon by the large crowd gathered near the entrance and a shortage of parking.

Citing statements by President Trump, Attorney General Maura Healey last Thursday issued a formal advisory to local officials and community organizations to highlight laws stating that intimidating or interfering with voters is illegal. The advisory referenced an Aug. 20 TV interview in which the president was asked if he would send poll watchers to monitor elections for possible voters fraud.

“We’re going to have everything. We’re going to have sheriffs and law enforcement and we’re going to have, hopefully, U.S. attorneys, and we’re going to have everybody, and attorney generals, but it’s very hard,” Trump said, according to Healey’s advisory, which was issued in English and Spanish.

(© Copyright 2020 State House News Service)

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