It seems the right will stop at nothing to intimidate and suppress those who traditionally vote Democratic. In Cleveland, a civil rights group called the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, which is a Washington-based voting advocacy group, sent a letter to Clear Channel Outdoor, the advertiser responsible for billboards intimidating minority voters, requesting that they be taken down. The billboards read “Voter Fraud is a Felony” with possible criminal penalties listed. There are dozens of these billboards conveniently placed, of course, in predominantly minority neighborhoods.
The group responsible for the billboards allegedly used census tract data to gauge demographics in order to strategically place them in predominately African-American neighborhoods. Census tracts are areas of towns, cities, suburbs, and rural areas of about 4,000 residents that loosely collide with neighborhood boundaries.
The billboards have also popped up in African-American neighborhoods in Cincinnati and Milwaukee as well. Of course, there is no name attached to this advertising endeavor — the advertiser is listed as a private family foundation.
The Lawyers’ Committee wrote to Clear Channel, saying that the signs “stigmatize the African-American community by implying that voter fraud is a more significant problem in African-American neighborhoods than elsewhere,” and that the billboards “attach an implicit threat of criminal prosecution to the civic act of voting.”
Eric Marshall, who is the manager of legal mobilization for the group, says that the signs must be removed:
“These billboards are placed in predominately African American or Latino neighborhoods only. They send a pretty strong message, and a very dissuasive message that is not good for our democracy.”
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