Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Government pressure to remove billboards against voter fraud is not “market forces”
Earlier, I wrote about illogical but widespread claims (found on Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and elsewhere) that billboards noting “Voter Fraud Is a Felony” were illegal voter intimidation or suppression, and explained why those billboards were constitutionally protected speech. (Putting aside the legalities, why would anyone even object to “suppressing” a fraudulent, illegal vote, such as a repeat voter who dilutes the votes of valid voters, or someone who steals their identity?)
In response, a commenter exulted in the fact that the billboard company, Clear Channel, took down the billboards under political pressure, writing that the billboards were “malicious messages” and defending the billboards’ removal by saying “that only market forces” were “brought to bear. Now, everyone knows that voting is a right, not a crime!” But illegal voting can be a crime, such as the fraudulent votes cast by former Maryland Congressional candidate Wendy Rosen. (She withdrew her candidacy after it was discovered that she had illegally voted in both Maryland and Florida).
And the billboards were removed under pressure from government officials, like Cleveland City Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland. The wife of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, who also pressured the company to take down the billboards, has claimed that “Voter fraud is a myth” in Ohio, “just as it is everywhere else in the country.” This claim on her part was obviously false. But such claims are often made by people who know better.