Thousands receive robocalls saying they can vote Wednesday - FOX 13 News

Thousands receive robocalls saying they can vote Wednesday

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

Thousands of registered voters in Pinellas County got a robocall Tuesday morning from the Supervisor of Elections that mistakenly told them Election Day was Wednesday.

Despite this, a strong 72 percent turned out to vote, which is in line with four years ago.

"It's been a busy day for everybody involved," said Len Ciecieznski with Pinellas County Communications.

Despite a stormy start with the power getting briefly knocked out, Pinellas voting was a fairly smooth experience, except for this bump in the process.

"This message is from your Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections," began the robo call, which triggered a much bigger concern.

It was a delayed message from Monday, but got delivered Tuesday morning, instructing more than 12,000 voters to wait a day to turn in their absentee ballots.

"Some of them went into a cue, when the dialing stopped at 8 o'clock," said Ciecieznski. "It took place at 8 o'clock again the next morning and inadvertently, these phone calls that were in the cue, were placed to the voters."

Jennifer White got one of those calls.

"Yes it does concern me a lot because I'm thinking this is trying to sway the voters into thinking well OK I have one more day because of all the problems that have happened throughout the state of Florida," said White.

The problem was discovered within ten minutes and by 8:30, the problem was corrected.

"So we sent the new message out immediately within the hour we started the new messages going out to the same 12,000-plus voters," said Nancy Whitlock with Pinellas County Elections.

"And anybody that had been contacted by the robo call got another call from a real person explaining the situation," said Ciecieznski.

Absentee and mail-in ballots over the last coupele weeks, combined with early voting showed a record 45-percent in Pinellas County had already spoken before the polls even opened.

"Well, traditionally, presidential elections have a big turnout, last time, four years ago, we had about 75-percent of the electorate turn out for the vote, but I think you see the trend, there are more people going toward absentee ballots than ever before," said Ciecieznski.

Presidential politics aside, the County Commissioners and Aheriff's races were hot. It appeared Republican County Commissioners Nancy Bostick and Neil Brickfield lost their seats after their Democratic challengers honed-in on their vote to remove fluoride from Pinellas water.

"The Supervisor of Elections herself is being re-elected perhaps at this time around, so some of these close races are going to be nail-biters for sure," said Ciecieznski.

Some of the workers here told us they'd been there since 5 this morning and were exhausted. Still, they were gratified that people came out in droves and cast their votes.

There were still 9,500 ballots left over to count, which will take place Tuesday morning, beginning at 9 am. And then they wait on Tallahassee to start counting all over again, to make sure all the numbers match up.

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