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Flake robocalls stir up controversy on eve of Election Day

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Flake robocalls stir up controversy on eve of Election Day

CREATED Nov 5, 2012

Reporter: Marcelino Benito

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - With just hours until polls open, candidates are using every second doing whatever it takes to win the public's vote. In one Arizona race, that is prompting some serious questions and possibly even a federal investigation.

It all stems from an investigation conducted by NBC affiliate KPNX in Phoenix. Voters in Scottsdale reported receiving robocalls from Congressman Jeff Flake's campaign. The calls instructed registered Democrats to vote at wrong, different polling places. Democrats statewide say the Flake campaign is stooping to a new low just hours before voters head to the polls. Monday night, the Pima County Democratic Party is asking voters to check their answering machine for some last minute robocalls.

Pima County Democratic Chair Jeff Rogers says the robocalls made it to Tucson. He tells 9OYS a robocall told a local voter to head to Oro Valley to cast her ballot. The problem with that is she lives near the University of Arizona, so the Democratic Party is on alert for fraud.

"We're going to watch it very closely," he said. "Anything that happened during the day should be on their answering machine. I would urge anyone who gets such a call to call the authorities."

The Flake campaign responded with a lengthy statement of its own. A spokesman says in part, "Five individuals have complained, resulting in the overheated rhetoric and a complaint, neither of which is surprising in light of the Sunday survey... showing Jeff Flake leading his opponent by five points." He adds, "In each case where we were informed of a mistake, we have attempted to work with that voter to give them the correct information on where they can vote."

9OYS reached out to the Carmona camp for comment on all of this. Reporter Marcelino Benito spoke with Dr. Carmona by phone. He asked him what he thought about these robocalls.

Carmona replied, "To have this come up really is eroding our democratic process. I'm happy to hear the FBI and Department of Justice have began investigating into this. It's just very troubling to me."

These robocalls are just the latest chapter in what's been a bitterly contested race featuring negative ads and high octane rhetoric.

"You got to be frustrated," political analyst Peter Goudinoff said. "This always goes on. It always has and it always will."

Arizona's State Democratic Party did request the Department of Justice and the FBI investigate the Flake campaign's robocalls. Neither the Department of Justice nor the FBI would confirm an investigation is underway.

If you have any questions about where to vote on Election Day, call the Pima County Recorder's Office or you can click here.