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Sign, sign, everywhere a --- hey! Where'd it go?

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I keep seeing these tweets about alleged nasty doings in the current U of M Students Union elections.

Gasp!

Someone should alert the Guinness Book, because if there’s one thing on Earth never seen before, it’s skullduggery in a university student council election.

Some of the allegations on Twitter involve claims that campaign posters are disappearing or getting damaged.

It happens. Sometimes it’s opponents’ supporters, possibly even henchpersons. Sometimes it’s the wind or rain, sometimes it’s because people are offended by signs all over public boulevards. Sometimes campaign organizers go cheap and they don’t hold up for five weeks.

I got sucked in on that issue early in my career. There was an election in a place I’ll hypothetically call LondonOnt, in which a candidate called me to complain about vandalism to campaign signs.

I did the interview, a photo of the infuriated candidate ran, people made certain conclusions about other candidates.

And not all that long after, the constabulary happened upon the candidate’s teenager vandalizing her signs in a misguided attempt to arouse sympathy for her and antipathy for the opponents. No evidence the candidate knew.

Inevitably, I’ll get calls and emails come next October, when the city elects school trustees — oh well, OK, and lesser offices too, such as mayor and council — and there are allegations of mischief and tomfoolery involving campaign signs. If you call me looking for coverage, alas...

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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