Clear Channel Announces Removal of Voter Fraud Billboard Ads

Clear Channel has removed signs looming over minority, student, poor neighborhoods in Wisconsin and Ohio.


President Obama in Columbus, Ohio.

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More than 140 billboard ads that have popped up in swing states announcing that "Voter fraud is a felony" will come down in upcoming days.

[READ: Ohio Sees Fierce Fight Over Voter Roles]

Clear Channel Communications announced they would take the billboards down because they did not comply with the company's policy of including a sign's sponsor on political messaging boards.

Clear Channel Communications owns the billboards, but an anonymous "family foundation" purchased the space.

"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," said Jim Culinan, vice president of corporate communications for Clear Channel Outdoor. "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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The billboards, which loomed over mostly poor and minority neighborhoods in Wisconsin and Ohio, attracted national attention and were planned to remain up through the Nov. 6 election. The signs showed a large gavel and also a red banner that said voter fraud was "punishable by up to three and a half years in prison and a $10,000 fine." Activists protesting the boards argued they were part of a concerted effort to suppress the minority vote.

"This is an undeniable victory for those of us who care about protecting the right to vote." says Catherine Turcer of Ohio Common Cause, a voter rights group. "Allowing people to intimidate voters and interfere with voting is un-American.

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Clear Channel says it will also uphold its promise to sponsor 10 pro bono billboards that say "Voting is a right. Not a Crime!"

In-person early voting starts in Wisconsin Monday and is already well underway in Ohio.

[READ: In Ohio, It's All About Getting Supporters to the Polls]

The latest polls show Obama up five points in Ohio and up two in Wisconsin.

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Lauren Fox is a political reporter for U.S. News and World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at