MILWAUKEE — One Wisconsin Institute joined community leaders and organizations in Milwaukee for a press conference about the dozens of voter suppression billboards, targeting communities of color, which have sprung up for a second consecutive November election cycle. Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director, condemned Clear Channel, owner of the billboards, for allowing the purchaser to say “Paid for by Private Family Foundation” instead of having their name on the billboard.
“These billboards are again polluting our communities like the racist ‘Whites Only’ signs of the Jim Crow south with the same goal, denying people of color their rights,” said Ross. “Clear Channel is profiting from this garbage and giving those behind it aid and comfort in the name of making money.”
More than two dozen of the billboards, which say “Voter Fraud is a Crime” have been identified around the Milwaukee area, overwhelmingly in the predominately African American and Hispanic areas of the city. Media and independent analyses have shown less than 24 cases of voter impropriety have been identified in Wisconsin since 2005 out of more than 11 million votes cast.
The content of the billboards is similar to ones posted in late fall 2010 in advance of the November elections. Documents and recordings obtained by the Institute’s partner, One Wisconsin Now, that thwarted an attempted, and potentially illegal, voter caging operation that involved the Reince Priebus-run Republican Party of Wisconsin, the “private family funded” Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin and the leaders of the so-called Tea Party movement included mention of funding billboards.
In the documents the billboards were to be paid for by “AFP,” the abbreviation for Americans for Prosperity.
“One Wisconsin Institute is proud to have joined with community leaders, activists and legal votes who are outraged about this scheme,” said Ross. “This is the same anti-voter garbage from 2010. Wisconsin knows the only real fraud is partisans who attack the franchise to further their political goals. Clear Channel should be ashamed of themselves for being a part of this racist effort in to suppress the vote in communities of color.”