By Alice Salles
The media has ridiculed presidential candidate Donald Trump for suggesting the election is “rigged.” While his comments should always be taken with a grain of salt, a case of a missing amendment in a Florida ballot is raising some eyebrows.
Anne Sallee, an Oakland Park resident and former city commissioner who lives in Broward, Florida, says she was shocked to notice her ballot had arrived in the mail without one of the most discussed amendments of the season. After spending a week trying to get the Broward elections office to listen, she decided to reach out to the Florida branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) for help.
Amendment 2 would legalize the use of medical marijuana in the Sunshine State, allowing “individuals with specific debilitating diseases or comparable debilitating conditions as determined by a licensed state physician” to have access to cannabis. But Amendment 2 was nowhere to be found on the ballot sent to Sallee.
According to NORML’s attorney, Norm Kent, the removal of the initiative from Sallee’s ballot may have been deliberate. And if enough ballots are sent without the initiative, voters won’t be able to check yes or no on the amendment. “[I]t’s like when you go to a restaurant,” Kent said, “something’s not on the menu, you don’t order it.”
In order to get to the bottom of this story, Kent is filing a lawsuit on behalf of NORML and Sallee, hoping to have the issue addressed before election day. “We need a judge to act expeditiously and promptly to effectuate a ruling that protects the rights of the voters in Broward County,” Kent told reporters.
After all, he said, if at least one ballot was sent without Amendment 2, there might be many others being sent out to Florida voters. “We have to find out whether there’s 100 ballots, 1,000 ballots or 10,000 ballots,” Kent added.
According to the Sun Sentinel, the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, Dr. Brenda Snipes, told the reporter that “[w]hen 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 [Amendment 2 in my ballot]’ either.’”
She added that the faulty ballots may have been printed as test samples for Oakland Park, claiming that after a local candidate dropped out, Snipes’ office re-coded the Oakland Park ballot, creating a new test ballot. Only seven of these ballots were allegedly produced, Snipes told reporters, but the office didn’t catch on to the error until later.
According to Kent, the lawsuit might force Snipes “to go before a judge and document every single ballot she has printed.”
Though the lawsuit was just filed, Kent is urging all local voters using the mail-in-ballot system to check whether Amendment 2 is missing.
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