For people who work during the time polls are open, or who may be unable to leave their home due to medical problems, and for many others, voting by mail is the only way they get the chance to participate in the elections. Absentee ballots, or mail-in ballots as they’re called, were sent out recently and at least a handful of them were missing a very important issue – Amendment 2, Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions. While there have only been a few ballots reported to be missing the amendment, even a few misprints are too many – and if it spread further than we think then it could impact the outcome of the entire election as far as Amendment 2 is concerned.
The first woman to come forward with one of these misprinted ballots was Karen Goldstein of Broward County. After she brought it to attention of a lawyer for the legalization activist group NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws), Norm Kent then filed for an emergency court hearing over the matter – after all, at this time it is unknown how many of the ballots have been affected. Any ballots that have already been filled out and returned will have to undergo a screening process to ensure that they all had Amendment 2 listed properly – if not, those voters will likely be sent a new ballot to fill out and return.
“But it’s like when you go to a restaurant, something’s not on the menu, you don’t order it,” Norm Kent, the voter’s attorney said. “So you fill out the ballot, you go from page one, and you’ll see it, you go from page one to two, and it goes from Amendment 1 to Amendment 3. There’s no Amendment 2 on it.”
This is far from the first time that we’ve seen issues in Florida when it comes to elections – we all remember the missing ballots from the 2000 election. Luckily, this was caught while there were still a couple of weeks for vote-by-mail ballots to be reissued to those who received faulty ones. Officials have said the ballots missing the amendment were likely test ballots that got mailed out by mistake – and that is entirely possible, but that doesn’t mean that it is not a matter that needs to be fixed urgently, because it does.
So far, there have not been a lot of people claiming to have ballots missing the amendment, which is definitely a good sign – however, it is encouraged that if you live in the state of Florida and you intend to mail-in your ballot, just double check that you are getting the opportunity to vote on Amendment 2. We were only down by 2% last time, and the polls are significantly higher this time around in favor of the amendment – but we don’t want to miss any votes, they all count for something on this issue.