Phony 'voter fraud' billboards scheduled to go up in Milwaukee are the latest outrageous attempt by a 'private family foundation' to prevent the wrong kind of voters from voting.
Speak out against voter intimidation
The Capital Times
The anonymous group that has purchased 85 billboards in low-income Milwaukee neighborhoods to ostensibly warn about voter fraud has every right under the First Amendment to do so, but hopefully their cynical attempt to suppress the vote on November 6 will fall flat on its face.
The billboards, which have also sprung up in poor neighborhoods of Cleveland, Ohio, have caused an uproar among liberals and labor unions. They want the message on the Clear Channel-owned billboards taken down. The message reads in huge white letters that "Voter Fraud Is a Felony!" and punishable "up to 3 1/2 years & $10,000 fine."
In much smaller print at the bottom of the message, it's revealed only that the billboard was paid for by a "private family foundation."
"Just the concentration of them is a pretty good indication what the end goal is and who these anonymous billboards are targeting for voter suppression," Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now said, pointing out that they're located in minority and student areas, which tend to vote for Democrats.
Clear Channel, which normally doesn't allow advertisers to be anonymous, said it mistakenly breeched its policy by signing a contract with this group guaranteeing them they could be anonymous.
While the speech is protected by the First Amendment, the best way to fight it is by making sure potential voters aren't intimidated by the message. People in the neighborhoods need to be informed that there's nothing fraudulent about voting as long as you're at least 18, a citizen and not currently serving time, including being under supervision, as a felon.
The way to beat this shady organization is to stand up to them and make it all backfire in their face.
(This editorial originally appeared in the opinion section of the Capital Times.)
October 21, 2012
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