Former Oakland Park Florida Commissioner Anne Sallee noticed something troubling about her vote-by-mail ballot. It is missing Constitutional Amendment 2, the medical marijuana question.
Sallee, now Broward chapter director of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, knows her way around government. Yet she said she spent a week unsuccessfully trying to get someone at the Broward elections office to pay attention to her complaint.
“They said, ‘Oh, no, you’re mistaken. It’s there,’ ” she recounted.
The ballot, a scanned image of which Sallee sent to the Sun Sentinel, goes from Amendment 1 to Amendment 3.
Broward Elections Supervisor Dr. Brenda Snipes said Wednesday that she hasn’t seen Sallee’s ballot yet and can’t confirm there’s something wrong with it. But she and her technical staff spent much of the day investigating, and found no evidence of faulty ballots being sent to voters.
“We have a check-and-balance system. We can go back and see what we did send to the printer,” she said. “When 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 it, either.’ We’ve already sent [Sallee] another ballot.”
Snipes said her office plans to retrieve it “we can start to examine what may have caused the problem.”
Snipes was cleared Wednesday in another election snafu, the early posting of primary election results. Her office also was criticized for sending out inaccurate voter ID cards, and for printing ballots for November that include the word “no” in the “yes” line on the county’s transportation sales surtax question.
The ballots are printed off-site, at Commercial Printing, Snipes said, But the different ballot layouts — depending on a person’s city, County Commission district or other boundaries — are created by the elections office.
Snipes told the Sun Sentinel she looked at other ballots for Sallee’s Oakland Park precinct and specific ballot layout, and they are not missing the medical marijuana question.
“We can’t find a copy of a ballot that does not have the marijuana issue on it,” she said.
Sallee said her husband’s ballot was missing the question, and that after she sent an email warning to neighbors, a couple of them said their ballots were missing Amendment 2, also.
Vote-by-mail ballots have not been opened yet by elections officials. That starts Monday.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office on Wednesday cleared Snipes and her office of any wrongdoing on primary Election Day, when results were posted before polls closed.
Secretary of State Ken Detzner requested the investigation, because early posting of election results is against the law. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement assisted in the investigation.
Assistant State Attorney Tim Donnelly said in a closeout memo Wednesday that the results were “negligently posted, for a brief period of time, prior to the closing of the polls. However, there is insufficient evidence that anyone purposely intended to post any election results prior to the closing of the polls, in violation of the criminal statutes.”
The mistake was made by a customer support technician at VR Systems, the vendor hired by the elections office.
It ultimately delayed election results across the state, with Broward posting its results last, at 7:52 p.m., the report says.
Donnelly said the case is closed, “pending any future re-occurrence.”