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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pinellas elections office flooded with calls



Pinellas County election workers answered more than 5,533 calls between 7 and 10 a.m. That's about 31 calls a minute.

Call center worker Melissa Troidl said it has been so busy, "we have to beg to go to the bathroom."

In comparison, Troidl said the call center averaged about 25 calls a day per worker during the August primary election.

Call center workers fielded calls from precinct staff members and voters. They work from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Most calls are pretty basic: where do I vote? Can I vote? What identification do I need to vote?

More complicated calls are unpredictable.

Dena Clark fielded a call from a man who recently moved to Tampa but was registered to vote in Pinellas County. Stumped, she waved her hand in the air until a supervisor came over. Could the caller vote?

"He moved to Tampa," she cried. "If he moved somewhere in Pinellas, I could help him, but this is not the day for this."

The supervisor told Clark to tell the caller to contact the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections. Clark took the caller off hold.

"Thanks for holding. It's not too bad," Clark told the caller. "Unfortunately, you need to call the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections and give them your address. They will tell you where to go."

Sonja Platero answered calls for the first time today.

"I like talking to people," she said. "And I like working with all these people who are here to help. It's all about teamwork."

But by 10 a.m. Platero needed a break. She waved her hand until a supervisor came over and told her she could take a break.

"I love it, but it's nonstop," Platero said. "You have to clear your head."

Cristina Silva, Times staff writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:39am]


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