Author: Shernide Delva
One of the most heavily debated topics on the Florida ballot is Amendment 2. Amendment 2 poses the question as to whether or not to legalize medical marijuana. However, several Florida residents have come forward stating their absentee ballots were mysteriously missing amendment 2.
For example, resident Karen Goldstein received an absentee ballot earlier this month in Broward County. When she looked for the spot to vote for Amendment 2, it was mysteriously missing. Multiple Florida voters have now reported receiving absentee ballots without the medical marijuana initiative on it.
Now, a lawyer has filed suit against Broward County officials stating the ballots could cause “irreparable harm” and deny residents their constitutional rights.
“The end result of this error is catastrophic and cataclysmic,” Norm Kent, a lawyer for marijuana reform group NORML, wrote in a filing obtained by the Miami Herald.
Kent is trying to get an emergency court hearing on Monday. It is uncertain whether or not a handful of absentee ballots were affected, or thousands of them. At the time of publication, Kent had received six calls about the matter.
A pro-marijuana campaign manager said election officials told him the ballots, without the question, were likely test ballots. Still, an error like this could be huge.
Florida, with its infamous reputation for polling problems, starts early voting on Monday.
The Amendment 2 issue is only now gaining media attention. Since last week, Former Oakland Park Commissioner, Anne Sallee, says she was trying unsuccessfully to get someone at the Broward elections office to pay attention to her complaint. She noticed on her absentee ballot that amendment 2 for medical marijuana was missing.
“They said, ‘Oh, no, you’re mistaken. It’s there,’ “Sallee recounted.
The ballot, which Sallee sent to the Sun Sentinel, jumps from Amendment 1 to Amendment 3. Somehow, the ballot was missing Amendment 2. Last Wednesday, Broward Elections Supervisor Dr. Brenda Snipes said that her team found no evidence of these faulty ballots sent to voters.
“We have a check-and-balance system. We can go back and see what we did send to the printer,” Snipes said. “When you’re dealing with this much paper and this many people, we may have made a mistake. But I haven’t heard a lot of people saying, ‘I don’t have it, either.’ We’ve already sent [Sallee] another ballot.”
One of Many Ballot Mistakes
If there is an error in the ballots, it would not be the first this election season. Snipes and her team were just cleared on Wednesday for a major election mistake. Her office received criticism after sending inaccurate voter ID cards and for printing ballots for November that included the word “no” in the “yes” line on the county’s transportation sales surtax question.
Despite, the ongoing mistakes, Snipes said she has not seen any ballots missing amendment 2.
“We can’t find a copy of a ballot that does not have the marijuana issue on it,” she said.
Still, Sallee says both her and her husband’s ballots were missing the important question. To warn others, she sent emails to neighbors to double check their ballots. Many of them found that their ballots were in fact also missing Amendment 2.
Assistant State Attorney Tim Donnelly said in a closeout memo Wednesday that the results were “negligently posted, for a brief period of time, prior to the closing of the polls. However, there is insufficient evidence that anyone purposely intended to post any election results prior to the closing of the polls, in violation of the criminal statutes.”
Ensure Your Ballot Contains Amendment 2!
Ultimately, a mistake like this could delay election results across the state. Vote-by-mail ballots open on Monday. If you are utilizing this option, please ensure your Florida ballot contains all the amendments that are in this election.
What do you think happened? How will you be voting? Medical marijuana is a serious topic of debate this year. Allowing residents of Florida the opportunity to vote on this topic is crucial. Overall, whether you agree with medical marijuana or not, you should at least be able to vote on it. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free today.