We know, there's a teeny, tiny election today. And if you're the type that checks this blog, you're looking for poll results and voting snafus.
But if you have a few minutes, check out these political personnel changes. And send tips to Brittany Alana Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @britt_alana.
Brill to step down from Florida Chamber Foundation
Florida Chamber Foundation President Dale Brill will step down to start his own economic development practice.
“As I start my new business next year, I look forward to the opportunity to continue serving as a Foundation Trustee and to encouraging other business and community leaders to engage as well,” Brill said in a press release.
ST. PETERSBURG – An hour after polls opened today, the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office mistakenly placed hundreds – possibly thousands – of automatic calls to voters instructing them that they had until 7 p.m. tomorrow to vote.
Polls actually close at 7 p.m. today. Any ballots turned in after that time won’t be accepted.
The calls went out between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. because of a glitch with the SOE’s phone system. Calls were made Monday alerting voters who had requested mail ballots but had not returned them that they had until 7 p.m. “tomorrow” to get them turned in.
About 12,000 calls, however, didn’t get through, said SOE spokeswoman Nancy Whitlock. They were stored in a queue and recycled this morning. The “tomorrow” in the message meant for Monday was incorrect when it was delivered today.
“About 30 minutes the calls were going out,” Whitlock said. “We stopped it immediately when we found out about it.”
But it wasn’t easy alerting elections officials of the erroneous messages, said one of the voters who got the call.
Kathie Spitzer, a 55-year-old St. Petersburg resident who works from home, said she got the recorded message at 8:07 a.m.
It was a recording of a woman’s voice. She identified herself as an employee with the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections office, Spitzer said, and she had something to tell voters.
Election Day would be tomorrow.
“She said that they would take ballots through 7 p.m. tomorrow,” Spitzer said. “I couldn’t believe it. It was very upsetting.”
Spitzer said she called the phone number that came up on her caller ID. It led her directly to the supervisor of elections office. When she told the woman who picked up the phone about the call, she was told it was impossible, there was no way such a call was made. She was directed to another woman, who also told it that it was impossible and no such messages were sent out.
“They were very uncooperative,” Spitzer said.
Whitlock said she doesn’t know how many of the 12,000 calls went out in 30 minutes. She said it wasn’t anywhere close to the total number of calls stored in the queue.
Whitlock said a second message was quickly sent out informing those who received the incorrect messages that today is Election Day and the final day to accept ballots.
“We encourage anyone with a mall ballot return it by 7 p.m. today and disregard the call this morning,” Whitlock said for those who left after the second call was made.
It's hard to believe here at the Herald/Times political bureau, but some Miami tweeters are thinking about non-election topics.
Top trending tweets in Miami
#VoteObama (Paid for by the Obama campaign)
Compare that to the national trends.
Top trending tweets in the U.S.
#Voteobama (paid for by the Obama campaign)
Secretary of State Ken Detzner said voting was off to a smooth start in Florida Tuesday, with lines at some of the state's 6,000 polling places and scattered rainfall in South and Central Florida.
Detzner predicts a record turnout, based on the fact that nearly 4.5 million Floridians voted early or by mail. (The highest voter turnout in state history was in 2008 when nearly 8.4 million people voted, including 4.5 million who voted early or absentee).
"We'll probably have a record-setting year in terms of turnout," Detzner said.
He praised voters for being well-prepared for a historically long ballot that includes the merit retention of three Supreme Court justices, 11 statewide proposed constitutional amendments and a variety of city and county referendums and charter amendments.
"The stewardship of voters is very evident, that people are anticipating this moment," Detzner said. "People are well-behaved. They're doing a good job. The weather might be a bit of a factor."
The state said it got a report from Escambia County Supervisor of Elections David Stafford that a woman fell and broke her leg in a parking lot in Pensacola, and her husband carried her into the polling place so she could vote before she was transported to a hospital for treatment.
The R.A. Gray Building in downtown Tallahassee, where the state elections apparatus is housed, is officially closed for the day and there is a stepped-up security presence at the building's entrance. "We don't want to take any chances," said Detzner's spokesman, Chris Cate.
-- Steve Bousquet
The computer model of the New York Times statistics guru, Nate Silver of the Five Thirty Eight blog, indicates President Obama has a 52 percent chance of winning Florida, without which Mitt Romney can't win the presidency.
Basically, it's a coin toss election. And already, up to half of the vote is in. More here on that.
With 4.5m votes in, election could be half over in FL. A look at the white, black and brown early vote
Election Day could already be half over in Florida before polling stations open at 7 a.m.
More than 4.5 million people have voted early, which accounts for 38 percent of the state’s 12 million registered voters and half of the ones likely to cast a ballot.
Democrats have a lead in total ballots cast over Republicans — 167,000 — but polls indicate Republican Mitt Romney is in a better position than President Barack Obama.
Obama is worse off than he was four years ago. Depending on how the data are sliced, his pre-Election Day lead could be half of what it was in 2008.
Still, Democrats are up in early ballots.
“It’s half-over, but it’s tied,” said Michael McDonald, a George Mason University political science professor and early voting expert. “There’s still another half to play.”
This is the tough half. If Obama wins Florida, he wins re-election.
The campaigns will be phoning voters who don’t show up, providing rides and keeping electronic tabs on bellwether precincts. It’s a massive numbers game involving tens of thousands of grassroots volunteers and data-mining techies monitoring the campaigns’ progress — or lack thereof — in real time from headquarters in Chicago (Obama) and Boston (Romney).
McDonald said this Florida election had a surprise: Higher proportions of Republicans cast in-person early votes compared to 2008, and even higher percentages of Democrats cast absentee ballots, which are typically mailed.
About 2.1 million absentee ballots were cast statewide — in addition to 2.4 million in-person early votes. The numbers show that, when it comes to voting, Florida has racial divisions that play to each campaign’s strengths, according to an analysis of preliminary voter data conducted by The Miami Herald and the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting:
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/05/3083613/floridas-presidential-election.html#storylink=cpy
AP's TV writer gives a quick summary of what the major English-language networks are planning for Tuesday night's presidential election. Story here.
We added what the major Spanish-language networks -- CNN Espanol, Univision and Telemundo plan to do.