By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2012, 3:26pm PT  

Luckily, it's "only" Florida.

More than 12,500 voters received robocalls this morning from the Pinellas County, FL Supervisor of Elections office, letting them know that the deadline for turning in their absentee ballot was "tomorrow", the day after the election. Unfortunately, the real deadline for turning in absentee ballots is 7pm today, Election Day, Tuesday, November 6th.

Pinellas County is home to Tampa and St. Petersburg. So here's why this monumental screw-up, presuming that's what it was, seems to have happened...

According to the Tampa Bay Times...

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.

Luckily, Florida is never particularly close, so those calls won't make much of a difference, right?

But no need to worry!...

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.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist and his wife Carole were campaigning for President Barack Obama in Tampa this morning, when Mrs. Crist's cell phone showed a call from Pinellas County. The robocall said polls would be open "tomorrow."

"Unbelievable," said the former governor.

Glad they tried to clear it all up. Who knows if it worked? That said, there is currently no notice of the foul-up anywhere on the front page of the Pinellas County, FL Supervisor of Elections website. You'd think they might like to add a big red notice on the page or something.

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