PITTSBURGH, Oct. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) today praised an announcement from Norton Outdoor Advertising that the company would remove billboards in the Cincinnati area aimed at intimidating voters and suppressing turnout.
Norton had put up about 30 signs that read "Voter Fraud is a Felony!" and threatened voters with hefty fines and jail sentences. An anonymous "family foundation" financed the boards. Clear Channel Communications said earlier this week that it would remove similar signs in the Cleveland, Columbus and Milwaukee areas.
"This is a victory for all those who value fairness, openness and equality in our electoral system," said Leo W. Gerard, USW International President. "The people who paid for these signs had only one goal: To scare and bully voters into staying home on Election Day."
The USW is a member of the Election Protection Coalition, which opposes voter suppression efforts and sought removal of the billboards. The group, which last week launched its own advertising campaign to encourage voter turnout, includes 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.
Several Cincinnati officials also wrote to the company requesting that Norton remove the boards.
"We have a proud history in this country of encouraging people to participate in the electoral process. These ads ran counter to that tradition, and instead sought to undermine our democracy," said USW International Vice President Fred Redmond. "All citizens have the right to have their voice heard without fear, and we must always fight to protect that right."
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)