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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

12,525 Pinellas voters get robocall from elections boss saying they have until 'tomorrow' to vote



ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas elections officials now say that 12,525 people were wrongly telephoned this morning with a message that they had until 7 p.m. "tomorrow" to turn in their absentee ballots.

Here's what happened, according to Nancy Whitlock, a spokeswoman for supervisor Deb Clark:

Pinellas officials used a Internet phone system called, to record messages reminding people of the deadline to turn in mail-in ballots.

On Monday, election officials sent out a reminder to 27,917 people saying ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. "tomorrow" — or Tuesday. But for reasons unknown, 12,525 of those calls wound up in a queue and were not placed until between 8 and 8:30 a.m. this morning.

By then, "tomorrow," referred incorrectly to Wednesday.

Polls close at 7 p.m. tonight. Any ballots turned in after that time won't count.

Election officials realized the error and re-recorded a corrected message, which they sent out to the same voters later in the morning. All but 215 potential voters have received the corrected message, either by listening to it, or as a voice mail, the elections office says.

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 3:37pm]


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