The electronic sign showed a message, but it was different from the one the owners intended to display.
The blame has been directed at hackers who are thought to have reset the sign and made it show a message that was not favourable to democratic president Hillary Clinton.
On three screens, the sign displayed the message, “CROOKED HILlARY,” and some insults, and then “VOTE TRUMP. At about 7.30 pm, the office of elections was contacted and tipped about the hack which led to the sign being turned off.
The purpose of the sign was to inform members of the public that they could choose their next leader through an absentee ballot or in-person absentee ballot during the coming elections on November 8th.
The signs were originally programed to read, “ARE YOU A COMMUTER? VOTE ABSENTEE,” said an official.
But because the company to which the signs belong asked for the programming mechanism of the signs to be left unlocked, hackers took the opportunity to manipulate the message at Tackett’s Mill commuter lot. Following the incident, all the signs have been locked.
In spite of the incident, election officials in the county believe the use of electronic signs is a great way to inform the voters about absentee voting.
Up to now, there have been at least 38,000 people living in Prince William that have requested an absentee ballot or voted personally at any of the 5 absentee voting centres, stated Winston Forest a spokesperson for the election board in the county.
The centres will remain accessible to the public this week starting from 8.30 in the morning until 7 pm during the week. On
Saturday, the stations will remain open only up to 5 pm. Saturday will be the last chance for people to cast an in-person absentee ballot ahead of the election next Tuesday.
All mailed ballot have to be postmarked before November the 8th if they are to be counted.