PITTSBURGH, Oct. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) union is joining forces with civil rights organizations to erect billboards in Ohio and Wisconsin in an effort to counteract an anonymous campaign to intimidate voters and suppress turnout.
The billboards, paid for by the Election Protection Coalition, will tell voters to "Stand Up and Have Your Say – VOTE" and "When We Vote, We Are All Equal." The billboards are expected to be activated this weekend in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Milwaukee. Traditional printed billboards will follow next week in those cities, and the campaign may expand between now and Election Day on Nov. 6.
"The Steelworkers are proud to stand with national civil rights groups to ensure every voter knows their rights before going to the polls, and no one is intimidated or discouraged by false information," said USW International Vice President for Human Affairs Fred Redmond.
The campaign is partly in response to a series of menacing billboards warning of prison terms and hefty fines for anyone engaged in voter fraud, which began to appear last week. Clear Channel, owner of the billboards, said they were financed by a "family foundation" that insists on remaining anonymous.
"We want voters to know that we have their backs," said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. "We expect the ballot bullies who are trying to scare folks away from the polls will step up their efforts as Election Day approaches; we're determined to make sure people aren't intimidated and that every eligible citizen can exercise their right to vote."
The Election Protection Coalition includes the USW, Common Cause, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the National Education Association, the Advancement Project and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
The boards will include the coalition's voter hotline number – 1-800-OURVOTE – which handles questions about voter registration and ID requirements and responds to reports of problems at the polls.
The USW represents about 850,000 workers in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glassmaking to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber to the public sector, service and health care industries.
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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)