NEW ORLEANS – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Louisiana have launched a paid media campaign, including radio ads and text messages, to educate and mobilize voters on the stakes of the December 5th runoff election for Orleans Parish District Attorney. The campaign includes a 60-second radio ad airing widely in the New Orleans media market and text messages to nearly 30,000 voters.

The radio ads and text messages are based on the candidates’ responses to the ACLU of Louisiana’s candidate questionnaire, in which candidate Jason Williams pledged to end all enforcement of personal marijuana possession. Candidate Keva Landrum’s response indicated that she may continue former DA Leon Cannizzaro’s practice of sending marijuana cases to municipal court for prosecution. Under this policy, people may still face criminal charges, hundreds of dollars in court fees and fines, and a criminal record for marijuana possession.

“The next Orleans Parish DA will have enormous power, and it’s critical that voters make an informed choice,” said Alanah Odoms, ACLU of Louisiana executive director. “Biased enforcement of marijuana possession has devastated Black communities and fueled our mass incarceration crisis – and for too long Orleans Parish has been part of the problem. We hope this campaign helps educate voters about the stakes of the election for Orleans Parish DA and encourage them to make their voices heard on December 5th.”

The ads are part of a six-figure campaign to educate voters about the Orleans Parish DA candidates’ positions on key civil liberties and civil rights issues, such as marijuana enforcement, racial disparities in sentencing, prosecutorial practices, and bail reform. The ACLU of Louisiana’s candidate dashboard includes all the candidates’ responses, as well as their complete questionnaires.

The ACLU of Louisiana's Campaign for Smart Justice, which aims to reduce incarceration by 50% and challenge racism in the criminal legal system, has focused for several years on prosecutorial reform through litigation, advocacy, and voter education.

The ACLU does not support, endorse, or oppose candidates for elected office. 

The radio ad is available here: https://www.laaclu.org/en/orleans-parish-da-runoff-radio-ad

This press release is online at: https://www.laaclu.org/en/press-releases/aclu-launches-paid-media-campaign-educate-and-mobilize-voters-ahead-orleans-parish

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