Politics

Clear Channel to Remove 'Voter Fraud' Billboards, Accused of Racism

| by Michael Allen

Clear Channel Outdoor has agreed to remove 30 billboards in Cleveland, Ohio that drew accusations of racism and intimidation because of their message of "Voter fraud is a felony."

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a voting advocacy group, said the billboards were placed in predominantly Hispanic and black neighborhoods in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Milwaukee.

The group sent a letter to Clear Channel Outdoor requesting that the company take down the signs, reports The Plain Dealer.

Originally, Clear Channel said it could not remove them because its client [a family foundation] has a contract that keeps them up through Nov. 6, Election Day. The contract also has a clause keeping the name of the family foundation anonymous.

On Saturday, Clear Channel still refused reveal the name of its client, but told The Plain Dealer: "We reviewed the situation, and in light of the fact that these billboards violate our policy of not accepting anonymous political ads, we asked the client how they would prefer to work with us to bring the boards into conformance with our policy. The client thought the best solution was to take the boards down, so we are in the process of removing them."

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New billboards, designed to counter the ones that will be removed, will be up and visible on Monday. Clear Channel agreed to donate 10 billboard spaces that will carry the message: "Voting Is a Right. Not a Crime!"

The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law has also paid for 36 billboards that went up Thursday in Cleveland and Milwaukee that read" "Stand up and have your say -- Vote. When we vote, we are all equal."