Attorneys denounce voter-fraud billboards in Ohio

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CLEVELAND (AP) -- A group of civil rights attorneys has joined a Cleveland official in denouncing billboards warning against voter fraud.

City Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland says the billboards, many in black neighbors, discriminate against minority groups and ex-convicts.

The billboards say "Voter Fraud is a Felony" and warn it's punishable by three and a half years in prison.

On Tuesday, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law called the billboards a move to discourage lawful voting, mostly by blacks.

Some billboards are also located in white Cleveland neighborhoods and in Lorain.

The Plain Dealer (bit.ly/Rf9dRY) says the councilwoman denounced the billboards last week.

Clear Channel Outdoor operates the billboards and says it's not responsible for the language. Clear Channel spokesman David Yale said Wednesday the out-of-town billboard backer wants to remain anonymous.

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Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com