For all the political shenanigans in Tallahassee this election cycle, the incident of the erroneous robocalls in Pinellas County is a reminder that able administration of elections can be just as important to the democratic process. Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark, who was just re-elected to a four-year term, has taken responsibility for the mistake. But she also needs to ensure it won't happen again.
The robocalls, delivered to more than 12,000 Pinellas County voters on Election Day, Nov. 6, suggested that the election was "tomorrow" — an unintended gaffe. As the Tampa Bay Times reported Friday, the mistake was due to a combination of poor communication with the robocall vendor, lack of training for IT staff and poor judgment in word choice. Had the robocall merely mentioned that Election Day was "Tuesday" instead of "tomorrow," no one would have ever been the wiser and the nation would have had one less reason to mock Florida elections.
Florida is familiar with this type of gaffe — from the 2000 butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County to that same county's misprinted absentee ballots this cycle. The most well-intentioned of elections administrators can make potentially decisive errors. But here's advice for the next cycle: Always use the date and day when referring to Election Day. Always.