Billboards list wrong date for Detroit's general election

7:01 AM, Aug 13, 2013   |    comments
Billboards along 8 Mile Road in Detroit, such as this one at Kelly Road, display the slogan 'Your Vote is Your Voice' and announce the date of the general election as Sept. 2 rather than the actual Nov. 5 date (Kathleen Galligan/Detroit Free Press)
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DETROIT (DETROIT FREE PRESS) -- Billboards advertising the city's upcoming general election sent the wrong message to residents over the weekend.

Many of the 14 billboards gave a September date for the city's general election. The election actually is Nov. 5.

City Clerk Janice Winfrey said the billboards - 11 purchased by the city and three given as a bonus from International Outdoor, which manages the billboards - were updated Saturday with information about the city's general election.

"It's a mistake," Winfrey said Monday. "People make mistakes. International made such. I saw it Saturday. I called them."

She said people are making much ado about nothing regarding the erroneous dates.

Winfrey said she was angry, and "I should be."

"I was paying for it," she said. "They were trying to be, as they usually are, very proactive right after the election to put the new one up. I'm not mad at them. They'll have it changed (Tuesday)."

Randy Oram, president of International Outdoor, acknowledged the error this morning in an e-mail to Winfrey, saying the billboards would be corrected Tuesday morning, barring rain seen in the area throughout the day.

"Our installers cannot work in the rain of any sort," he wrote. "Again, thank you for your understanding."

Fixing errors is nothing new to billboard companies.

Tom Carroll, a vice president with national billboard company CBS Outdoor, said while billboards are fixed often, the size of the error would determine the method for the change. In one case, he said, a worker was sent up to the billboard with a magic marker to add a "dot" that was missing from a website URL. That fix was free of charge, he said.

Some have paid as much as $500 to have an entire billboard redone, he said.

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