There were a number of issues with Florida as voting got underway Tuesday morning. There was the mysterious case of Florida Governor Rock Scott's dead set refusal to allow early voting to carry on, there was the case of the ballot machine touch screen that made every vote for Obama count for Romney, and there was an incident eerily familiar to Canadians in at least one Florida county, a case of the robocalls.
From the Tampa Bay Times:
"This message is from your Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections," a woman says in the prerecorded call. "The general election is tomorrow. If you want to vote and return your mail ballot, please take it to any ballot dropoff site by 7 p.m. tomorrow. If you decide to vote at your polling place, please bring your mail ballot with you so it can be canceled and you can avoid delays."
This was received by voters in Pinellas County on Tuesday morning, also known as Election Day. Meaning that the message was basically telling people that they had a whole extra day to vote, which, as you can already guess, wasn't true.
The culprit, surprisingly, has been identified as the Office of the County Supervisor of Elections itself. But due to a "vendor error," the call that was supposed to go out Monday ended up going out Tuesday morning instead. One of the people that got the robocall was former Florida Governor Charlie Crist. The former Republican governor of Florida who took it on the chin last election when he allowed polling stations to remain open on Election Night 2008 so that everyone could vote. Many in his own party read this as Crist allowing Obama to win Florida.
Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark tried to play the sweet, innocent old lady act (she's 63) saying that she had wished the robocall said "Election Day" specifically in it, and that this was an honest error, before adding, "I wish it had not happened, but I don't have time today to stop and be concerned about what somebody is blogging or what somebody is tweeting.."
Of course it's really hard to believe Clark since her tenure as the county's top election official has been fraught with incidents of mismanagement, including her refusal to extend early voting in the county and insist that people instead fill out mail-in ballots. Are we sensing a pattern here?
Of course, we all remember Canada's brush with misleading robocalls in last year's Federal Election, and I have noticed that a lot of the key operatives connected with that affair are no longer radio silent. Coincidence?