Early in October, billboards threatening the dire consequences of voter fraud appeared in primarily low-income, minority neighborhoods in Ohio and Wisconsin. The signs depict a large gavel and say, “Voter fraud is a felony – up to 3 ½ years and a $10,000 fine.” Both Ohio and Wisconsin are important swing states for the presidential electoral bid.
“Every election year we see offensive, underhanded tactics by groups who don’t want everyone to have access to the voting booth. This year, intimidating billboards that point out voter fraud are appearing in predominantly African American communities in Ohio, despite little to no evidence that voter fraud exists,” said AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker and Ohio AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Pierrette Talley in a statement.
As of Oct. 22, Clear Channel Outdoors has announced it will remove the billboards following complaints that they were designed to intimidate voters. Clear Channel will also donate space on 10 billboards that will read, “Voting is a right. Not a crime!” They would not divulge the identity of the person or organization who purchased the ad space under the nomenclature “Private Family Foundation”, however.
Monday, Oct. 29, the party behind the offending billboards was finally revealed:
“Stephen and Nancy Einhorn placed these billboards as a public service because voter fraud – whether by Republicans or Democrats – undermines our democratic process,” said a statement from the Einhorn’s to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Stephen Einhorn, a wealthy Republican private equity investor, purportedly believes reminding people of the possible consequences of illegal voting will help the upcoming election by ensuring only legally registered voters participate. Evidence of widespread voter fraud has yet to surface though. That is perhaps because it does not exist.
According to an ABC News source, News21, a nationwide study demonstrates there have been only 10 cases of impersonation fraud at the polling place since 2000. There were a total of 2,068 alleged instances of voter fraud during that period. That’s out of about 146 million eligible American voters.