After an advertising company printed billboards showing the wrong election date, a spokesman says it will invest in additional billboards around the Jackson area that show the correct date and amplify a get-out-the-vote message.
Six billboards went up in the city of Jackson on Oct. 18 that said: “Vote: Election Day November 16, 2019.” But in Mississippi, statewide elections will be held on Nov. 5.
Vote.org, a California-based nonprofit, paid for the billboards for the third straight statewide election cycle in Mississippi.
A spokeswoman for Vote.org said the mixup occurred because a vendor printed billboards with dates meant for advertisement in Louisiana, where a runoff election will occur on Nov. 16. The error was printed on six billboards in Jackson, and they were removed within 24 hours after they went up.
“It is Vote.org’s primary mission to provide voters in underserved communities with the resources they need to vote, including accurate information about upcoming elections,” Vote.org communications director Kamari Guthrie said. “For the past three years, Vote.org has shown up in Mississippi, Louisiana, and other states to ensure voters have the information they need to access the polls.”
Jackson residents pointed out that several of the six billboards were located in predominantly African American neighborhoods, causing some to speculate about nefarious intentions with the date mixup given Mississippi’s long history of suppressing the black vote.
Guthrie put to rest those concerns, saying: “As a woman of color who has been apart of this team committed to strengthening our democracy via voter registration, this is a matter we take seriously and have sought rectify with our vendors… It is our mission to give voters access to accurate, helpful information to get out and vote. We remain committed to doing that work in Mississippi and nationwide.”
In response to the error, AdQuick, an Los Angeles-based company that books billboard advertisements for their clients, said it would purchase additional billboards with correct information on behalf of Vote.org.
“We identified the issue within 24 hours of the billboards being live, and these units were subsequently taken down within 24 hours,” said AdQuick spokesman William McCormick. “In addition, to amend for the error, we are investing additional billboards in the Jackson, (Mississippi) market to further amplify the correct Nov. 5 voting date in the area.”
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misstated that AdQuick is headquartered in Ohio and owns billboards. The company is based in Los Angeles and handles bookings, but does not own billboards.