(SS) A group advocating for the legalization of marijuana sued the Broward County Supervisor of Elections on Thursday after some mail-in ballots did not include a question about a state constitutional amendment on allowing medical marijuana.
NORML of Florida, a chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, filed the lawsuit against county Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes.
It asked a county court judge to require that the elections office distribute new ballots to all voters who have received vote-by-mail ballots and to include information that explains that Amendment 2 had not been included on previous ballots.
"The end result of this error is catastrophic and cataclysmic as it applies to this ballot item, effectively disenfranchising voters and eliminating the right to vote on certain matters which have been lawfully placed on the ballot," the lawsuit says.
The amendment needs 60 percent of the vote to pass.
"Every voter and vote, therefore, is critical," the lawsuit says.
Snipes did not immediately respond to an email or phone call Thursday after the lawsuit was filed.
The lawsuit comes after Anne Sallee, a former Oakland Park commissioner, reported that her ballot did not include Amendment 2. Sallee said her husband's ballot, and those of a couple of neighbors, were also missing the question.
There are multiple versions of ballots, depending on where a voter lives in the county, so not everyone was affected. It is unclear how many ballots did not include the question.
Snipes told the Sun Sentinel on Wednesday she looked at other ballots for Sallee's Oakland Park precinct and specific ballot layout, and they are not missing the medical marijuana question.
Sallee said she delivered her ballot and her husband's ballot to elections officials on Thursday to show them the error.
Norman Kent, one of the attorneys representing NORML of Florida, said he had received four calls about the error as of Thursday afternoon. Kent, who is based in Fort Lauderdale, is the national vice chairman of NORML's board of directors.
Karen Goldstein, deputy director of NORML of Florida and a Broward resident, is also listed as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. NORML of Florida is in West Park.
Snipes' office has dealt with other ballot issues this year.
About 1,800 voters in Davie received incorrect voter ID cards, before the Aug. 30 primary, which Snipes attributed to a printing error. A judicial candidate's name was reported to be misspelled on early voting ballots for that election.
More recently, her office was criticized for printing ballots for the November election that include the word "no" in the "yes" line on the county's transportation sales surtax question.