NORML demands answers after ballot blunder in Broward County

Some ballots missing Amendment 2 option

By Ian Margol - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Answers are being demanded about how Amendment 2, which would reform marijuana laws in Florida, was left off some absentee ballots in Broward County. The issue was addressed Tuesday in a Fort Lauderdale courtroom.

The hearing was requested by lawyers for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

They asked for an injunction and for the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office to explain how the mistake happened, the extent of it and how it is being fixed.

"We have an election two weeks away where every single vote counts," attorney Norman Kent said.

Kent told a judge that the mistake of leaving Amendment 2 off at least two mail-in ballots in Broward County could cause irreparable damage.

"We just want an accurate accounting of the vote," Kent said. "We want to know that the ballots are there, that the numbers are correct and (that) there’s authenticity and validity to the final count."

Attorney Burnadette Norris-Weeks, who represents the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office, said the office had already met those requirements.

Norris-Weeks said workers began opening mail-in ballots on Monday and inspected them to make sure Amendment 2 was not missing.

They also had poll workers keep an eye out during early voting for the same issue.

"Nobody, not one person from any of the teams, reported that there were any irregularities with Amendment 2 on the ballot," Norris-Weeks said.

Broward County supervisor of elections Dr. Brenda Snipes said officials will handle any other issues on a case-by-case basis and send a new ballot to affected voters.

Attorneys for NORML later asked the judge to order the elections office to report back after a week to show that it was still proactively checking to make sure no other issues were found.

After leaving the courtroom briefly, the judge decided that she needed more time. She is expected to make a decision as early as Tuesday afternoon.

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