A billboard declaring “Voter Fraud is a Felony” is now on display in Cleveland – a clear attempt to intimidate and suppress African American and student voters in the area.

According to Cleveland City Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland, who took the photo, this sign is directly across from Arbor Park Village, a subsidized housing development of more than 600 units. It is also within a few blocks of three public housing estates and right down the street from Cuyahoga Community College Metro Campus.

“This is blatant voter intimidation,” says Councilwoman Cleveland. “A direct attack in the heart of African American community meant to scare people and keep them from exercising their right to vote.”

We couldn’t agree more.  But we aren’t surprised.  Republicans nationwide, and especially in Ohio, have been looking for ways to limit the turnout of Democratic voters – especially students and African Americans.  Franklin County Republican Party Chairman Doug Preisse admitted as much when he said ” I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine.”

Republicans in the legislature specifically eliminated early voting hours favored by African American voters, and  groups like True the Vote and their Tea Party allies have been actively working to intimidate voters throughout the state – including Ohio State University students.

It is currently unclear who paid for the billboard.  The sign simply reads “Paid for by a Private Family Foundation.”   But the sign’s owner, Clear Channel, has also allowed similar content to be displayed on a billboard in Milwaukee in 2010 which resulted in protests from the community.

Despite claims by “voter protection” groups, in person voter fraud is practically non-existent in the U.S. and we are aware of no convictions of any individual intentionally attempting to cast a fraudulent ballot in Ohio in recent memory.

  • Funny how this country comes down hard and condemns leaders of other nations engaging in voter suppression and fraud. We should look no further as it is happening in our own backyard of repubs and tea party alike becoming that very oppressor they swore they didnt want to take control and destroy this country which they claim to abhor. Can you say hypocrite of ones who claim they want to be free but embace facist methods of oppression to rule a country as opposed to governing as the founding fathers wanted it.

  • Dmoore

    Until the republican party owns up to the mess they’ve made over the past decade they’ll have to resort to crap like this. They have alienated any reasonable people and are now stuck with the whackos of the world as their core. Romney better hope he loses becuase trying to lead this managerie of freaks would be impossible.

  • If you do not have an up-to-date ID card with your Picture get to your Deputy Register and do it today. You only have time to register until Oct 9th and they are closed on the 8th.So if you want to vote for Obama then for your vote to count you need to act now! You can vote @ your Library and other places. Just ask. Please we need you to keep our President in office for 4 more years!

  • Just make sure you have a up-to-date ID- then register! Please do it right away Dmoore. We need our President for 4 more years!

  • Huh?

    Though not a classy move, this isn’t intimidation. There are lots of activities that are against the law; if you don’t partake of them, then you have nothing to worry about. It’s no different than saying, “Murder is a felony.” Okay, fine. So what. Register and vote. How does this billboard discourage a person of any color from doing that? I think it’s insulting the intelligence of people to say that a message so benign and pathethic will keep them from legally voting. Move on to a real problem, like jobs, or hunger, or homelessness, or any of the other million problems Americans have.

  • It’s different because everyone knows the definition of Murder. Not everyone knows the definition of “voter fraud”. If I show up to the polls with an old ID is that voter fraud? If I moved recently but didn’t update my license or my voter record, is that voter fraud?

    The sign’s intention is clear: keep people who may already have some reservations or concerns about voting, and who don’t clearly understand the law or voting requirements (which, this year, is even more confusing with all the directives and repealed directives, etc) and keep them home.

  • buckeye15

    Thanks for the explanation Jon Husted.

  • anastasjoy

    I’m working at the Cuyahoga BoE, and we have been flooded with African-American voters. Good luck with this technique, because I don’t think it will work.

  • anastasjoy

    You do NOT need a photo ID! Please do not mislead. Go to the secretary of state’s website for an official list of what can be used as ID.

  • anastasjoy

    Also, given the deceptive information that has been circulated in the African-American community in past elections to keep people from voting, it would be easy for someone to think that, for instance, it’s “voter fraud” to try to vote if you have unpaid taxes, child support, or traffic tickets. That has been put out there in the past. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they made robocalls and flyers saying that it was. Shameless lying is part of their tactics. Remember the calls from 2004 telling people that Republicans vote on Tuesday and Democrats vote on Wednesday? And in 2004, the line was that if you showed up at the polls and had unpaid child support, outstanding traffic tickets etc, you would be arrested there. THAT kind of “voter fraud” should be what puts people in prison.

  • Most people I have talked to said all this shit just makes them all that more determined to vote. These tactics could very well back fire on them, Just like when you tell a child not to touch something. What do you think they will do? not touch it? You tell me that I can’t vote. or insinuate that I may have a problem when I go to vote oh just dare me! I WILL BE THERE WITH BELLS ON!

  • Anastasia is correct. Please refer to the SOS site here ( http://www.sos.state.oh.us/elections/Voters/FAQ/ID.aspx ). I also included the list at the end of this comment.

    Please note: you do not need an ID to vote absentee. This includes voting in-person absentee, which is technically what you are doing when you vote early.

    You will, however, need to include you Ohio Driver’s License number OR the last four digits of your social security number on the absentee ballot request form you mail in or fill out at the early voting location.

    Here’s a list of the ID you can use on election day:

    A current and valid photo identification card issued by the State of Ohio or the United States government; or
    A military identification (“military ID”); or
    An original or copy of a current utility bill; or
    An original or copy of a current bank statement; or
    An original or copy of a current government check; or
    An original or copy of a current paycheck; or
    An original or copy of a current other government document, other than a voter registration acknowledgement notification mailed by the board of elections, that shows the voter’s name and current address.

  • Oh, it’s just intended to be a public service, then? Why aren’t they putting these up near predominantly White suburban districts then? At it’s best it’s racially profiling the district as the ones who commit voter fraud (which flies in the face of evidence) at worst it’s intended to deter legitimate citizens from voting.

    What the citizens in the area should do is make it quite clear that they will NOT support any businesses that advertise on Clear Channel billboards if this remains up. Hit Clear Channel where it hurts…watch the billboard come down.

  • SAL555

    That was my thought, Jerry. Hit ’em where it hurts. Billboards target: that’s what advertising does. That’s why we have tobacco signs and casino signs in certain areas. As the masses catch on to advertising techniques, they are allowed to take such tactics personally. It is really offensive to place such an ad where they did. And you are right: Clear Channel needs to make a decision here. We consumers can help them do that.

    On the bright side, the current Florida “Acorn” type voting registration scandal is Republican karma. What goes around, comes around. Let’s not let them forget that.


    Voter Fraud…the GOP’s domestic WMD

  • Chance McGee

    There’s an exact duplicate up in Cincinnati now in Madisonville.

  • To warn that voting under false pretenses is a felony is not unfair to anyone. It’s a statement of fact.

  • If you don’t understand the law or voting requirements, perhaps you shouldn’t be voting.

  • Barrack Osama

    How dare they tell the truth.

  • HowdyDooooooo

    How is it a “a clear attempt to intimidate and suppress African American and student voters”???

    If they aren’t actually committing voter fraud, then they have absolutely nothing to worry about, DUH! What a stupid article.

  • Guest
  • HowdyDooooooo

    Your basic argument seems to be that blacks are gullible and also too stupid to properly inform themselves.

  • anastasjoy

    That is not my argument, basic or otherwise. ALL voters are challenged and overwhelmed by the flood of information and misinformation coming from all over. The Republicans have DELIBERATELY misled black voters over and over again by lying to them. it requires technical resources, time and sophistication to debunk these lies; there’s no one-stop shop.

  • Natassia

    This is satire, right?


  • blight14

    It appears you don’t have the basic qualifications to be a moderator…..everyone knows 99% of these people will vote for Obama, that is a given. What most thinking people desire is for them to just get ONE vote per person…..did I have to attend medical school to be able to understand that? Who knows, maybe someday I can be a moderator…..

  • anonymous_amren

    People like you, who have a massive bias and approve of voter fraud, yet are in charge of the system, are the reason the billboards are there. To try to remind YOU that if you follow your biases and commit voter fraud, you are committing a felony and risking imprisonment or fines.

  • anonymous_amren

    4 more years of trying to silence criticism of voter fraud, replacing Americans with illegal aliens because the government prefers the way foreigners vote, branding any criticism of the government as racist and unacceptable, and supporting actual voter suppression by armed black panthers, will mean that Americans are never again going to have another free and fair democratic election.

  • anonymous_amren

    I generally agree with that impression of the Republicans… BUT have you looked at the Democrats lately? “They have alienated any reasonable people and are now stuck with the whackos of the world as their core.” certainly sounds like the Democrats these days, as does “trying to lead this managerie of freaks would be impossible”. Even though Republicans are certifiably insane, they still get the vast majority of the white vote because the Democrats only care about the whackos and freaks. Thankfully I’m not a US citizen, so I don’t get a vote there (unless they think I’ll vote Democrat). Trying to choose between those parties would be hard. I’d have to vote for a third party if I was a citizen.

  • anonymous_amren

    You SHOULD need photo ID, if they were actually serious about stopping fraud. The current system seems ripe for abuse, hence the billboard.

  • anonymous_amren

    That would actually be a pretty good argument, since black people ARE gullible (look up the statistics) and ARE too stupid to properly inform themselves (again, look up the statistics). There’s a 1 standard deviation difference.

    Arresting known criminals when they show up to vote, would actually be a sensible policy, and there wouldn’t be any voter suppression involved in doing so. Just normal law enforcement.

  • HowdyDooooooo

    So you are saying that blacks are not “sophisticated”… LOL

  • Clear Channel is owned by Bain. (Reuters 2008) Does Mitt Romney profit from these billboards? Who knows? Romney won’t release his tax returns.


    Voter Fraud is very,very small.

  • This is Making me SO MAD I CANT EVEN THINK You LET Corporations Destroy this country…you let them get completely out of control They dont pay taxes…you let a record level of african americans get arrested. You let records of unemployment skyrocket only to satisfy the “president does a bad job cuz hes black and isnt smart enough to do presidenting” Theory float around like its ok. Your a Bunc of morons idiots ..you let this country get killed by money and greed and youll sit back and blame mexicans and blacks and “street crime” we let 10000 ponzi schemes go on a day on wall street..one black guy steals 100 bucks we got a international incident. Get your head out your !#@ your nation is being stripped from you Stop making excuses and start fighting whos Really in charge..June bug on welfare is NOT in charge. Stop blaming him for everything i know what your saying and its a lie and its crap stop lying stop falling for garbage and get with the Program this is America we dont do this and Racism shouldnt be a POLITICAL PLATFORM.

  • if i was back in ohio i would Tear this THING TO THE GROUND this is like Hanging a Jim Crow Sighn…people have just gotten to soft and are afraid to tell the truth.

  • Keep voting down republican Trash. we know what your doing..your trying to Turn America into a nightmare….its either ALL money or NOTHING AT ALL DESTROY IT AND REBUILD IT AGAIN and i wont fall for this lunacy.

  • alittleunwell

    Is this the only billboard in town? Are there some like it in more affluent areas? Black people are intelligent.They’re not going to be scared away from the poles by one billboard. Geez give them some credit for Pete’s sake.

  • Old Verger

    Now we know: Clear Channel, a company owned by Baine Capital, is paying for these billboards.

  • picaflor

    How? This person is stating an observation, not saying this observation will impact their job in any way shape or form.

    You are projecting. You wish you had this job to get away with crimes.

  • picaflor

    Good! This is what I want to hear!

  • pleazzer

    It is a PUBLIC SERVICE announcement!!!

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