Florida, Check Your Ballots: Broward County Leaves Off Amendment 2

Brenda Snipes, 60, laughs during the press conference introducing her as the replacement for ousted Broward County Supervisor of Elections Miriam Oliphant. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush issued an executive order relieving Oliphant and appointing Snipes early in the morning of Thursday, Nov. 20, 2003. Hundreds of county employees and media gathered at Government Center in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2003 to see the new head of county voting. Snipes was a long-time employee of the Broward County School District. AP Photo/Marianne Armshaw

Every vote counts in Florida’s upcoming election on medical marijuana, so when two Broward County voters were unable to vote on the issue this month, the state’s NORML chapter filed a lawsuit. A pair of Oakland Park residents allegedly received absentee ballots with the cannabis measure missing.

County elections officials are assuring the public the ballots were issued in error and are an isolated incident. “We did reissue a new ballot to the voter and to her husband,” county elections supervisor Dr. Brenda Snipes (pictured above) said in a statement.

The medical marijuana measure, Amendment 2, would legalize medical cannabis in the state for patients with certain medical conditions who’ve been recommended MMJ by a doctor.

Karen Seeb Goldstein, NORML of Florida’s director, told local reporters that the missing measure is a serious concern given the close poll numbers. The amendment needs 60 percent voter support to pass.

“In 2014, we lost the election by a very slim margin, just 2.3 percent, and we know that every vote is going to count in this election,” Goldstein said.

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Snipes said her office has not received calls from other voters who’ve noticed Amendment 2 missing from their ballots. It’s possible invalid ballots were inadvertently mailed out after a city commissioner candidate dropped out of the election and new ballots were printed, she said.

The error is one of a string to hit Snipes’s office this election season. Other mistakes include announcing primary election results too early and incorrectly translating ballots in Creole.

About 240,000 absentee ballots have been mailed to voters in Broward County, and about 60,000 of those have been returned. Snipes is asking any resident with a missing question on the ballot to contact her office immediately so that a replacement ballot can be issued. Her office can be reached at (954) 357-7050.