That's the first of a slew of billboards erected in poor and minority neighborhoods in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and cities in other key swing states, courtesy of an anonymous coward who thinks poor minority folks should be scared out of voting.
Tonight the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Clear Channel has agreed to remove 30 such billboards across the Cleveland area, claiming they were put up in error.
Clear Channel had said it could not remove them because its client, a private, out-of-state family foundation, has a contract that keeps them in place through Nov. 6, Election Day. The contract also has a clause keeping the name of the family foundation anonymous.
The company has said it has a policy against putting anonymous political messages on its billboard and that it erred in agreeing to that contract.Well, that's sort of weasely, but at least they are taking them down.
These intimidating billboards were put up in neighborhoods where less educated and informed voters might believe that many innocent errors could constitute "voter fraud." Maybe they feel they just don't need more grief in their lives so they abstain from voting. And Republicans have ginned up so much spin around "voter fraud" that anyone could be confused about what it is.
It's extremely rare, although it does exist. Here's an example:
Yes, more proven cases have voter fraud have been committed by Republican elected officials than by inner-city voters.
This is even better news:
Opponents had already negotiated with Clear Channel to have the company donate use of 10 billboards that will be visible Monday and carry the message "Voting Is a Right. Not a Crime!" Cleveland City Council will pay for five more to carry the same message.Thanks have to go out to Phyllis Cleveland, the councilwoman for Ward 5, Cleveland's Central neighborhood, where the first of thew Cleveland billboards appeared. It was her picture that attracted national attention from groups like Color of Change, which launched a petition drive. She's the woman standing in front of the billboard in a widely distributed photo. She undoubtedly had a hand in stirring her colleagues into action.
Here's Phyllis at an event at our church's urban farm, which is in her ward. She's been a great supporter of us as well.