Chalk up another printing error for the beleaguered Palm Beach County elections office. In what some veteran elections officials said is the vote-counting equivalent of lightning striking twice, Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher said Monday that she has been forced to send new absentee ballots to about 500 county residents because of a new printing error. The new mistake is different — and, some say, potentially more serious — than the one that prompted Bucher to hire dozens of workers, who have spent the past week hand-copying an estimated 27,000 absentee ballots. In that case, a header was missing from judicial races, making it impossible for vote tabulation equipment to read the ballots.
Instead of being confused by a missing header, those who received the new flawed ballots are losing the chance to vote on one of 11 proposed amendments to the state constitution. Because one of the pages on the ballot was duplicated twice and one wasn’t printed at all, those same voters will be able to vote twice for three of the proposed amendments.
Boca Raton resident Nadine Waldman said she realized something was wrong when she compared the ballot she received Saturday with one her husband received days earlier. She noticed that the second and fourth pages of her ballot were the same.
It means she could vote twice for Amendments 1, 2 and 3 but not be allowed to vote for Amendment 5 at all. Amendment 1 is a largely symbolic vote on the federal health care act. Amendment 2 would expand homestead exemptions to disabled veterans who were not state residents when they entered the military. Amendment 3 would place a new cap on state spending. Amendment 5 would give state lawmakers more control over the Florida Supreme Court and the judiciary.