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Voter fraud billboards coming down
Counter ads going up today
Story by BRIAN BULL


 

A campaign to counter a series of controversial billboards will still roll out, despite the decision to scrap the billboards beginning this week.

Across Cleveland, 15 new billboards are going up, that’ll read, “Voting is a right, not a crime.”

These were designed to offset an earlier series of 30 billboards, that were anonymously purchased from Clear Channel Outdoor.  Those said, “Vote fraud is a felony”, punishable by a 10-thousand dollar fine and a prison sentence.  Most appeared in culturally diverse, lower-income areas of Cleveland.

But following an outcry from minority leaders and voting rights advocates, Clear Channel Outdoor says it violated its own policy of allowing anonymous political messages, and will now remove them this week.

State Senator Nina Turner is delighted at the news.  She campaigned against the voter fraud billboards. 

Turner on the removal of voter fraud billboards

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Cleveland on the removal of voter fraud billboards

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“The incidences of in-person voter fraud almost are non-existent, and it doesn’t make sense for any group to use their money or their political clout, to try to suppress the vote.”

Cleveland Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland also addressed her concerns with Clear Channel. She's delighted at the outcome.

“I certainly wish they’d never gone up, but I applaud Clear Channel for taking them down.  There was some damage down, but it wasn’t irreparable harm.  It’s now our job to make sure that people know what their rights are, and do what they need to do.”

Turner and other local lawmakers will hold a press conference this morning in Cleveland, at the unveiling of one of the new billboards.  Clear Channel donated ten, and the city council funded five more. 

Clear Channel says it’s also scrapping original voter fraud billboards in Columbus and Milwaukee, for a total of 145 being removed.

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