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Broward Elections Office Sued Over Alleged Bad Ballot Placement

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The Broward County elections office was sued Friday over what campaigning for the future of Children's Services Council said was a confusing ballot layout.

From promoting literacy to equipping kids with the tools they need to succeed, the Children's Services Council of Broward helps thousands of children every year. The council said their very existence is in jeopardy due to the confusing ballot.  There is an issue to reauthorize funding the council and advocates said it is confusing.

"The worst case scenario is kids are gonna be on the street," said Fred Lippman of the Children's Services Council of Broward.

The lawsuit claims voters are accidentally voting against it because is not in its own column and is instead placed beneath a ballot question.

CLICK HERE To Watch Joan Murray's Report 

The lawsuit, according to the Sun Sentinel, stated "the construction of ballots has not only been proven to confuse voters on which issue they are, in fact, voting, but also ... caused the disenfranchisement of a continuing number of Broward County voters.''

Attorney Larry Davis said to the paper that "numerous voters have voted 'no' at the bottom of column three, thinking they were voting 'no' on Amendment 3, but in fact erroneously and unintentionally voting 'no' on the CSC reauthorization.''

Voter Karen Dickerhoof said it happened to her. She made a mistake on her absentee ballot.

"I wanted to vote no on amendment three. Instead, I voted no on the council and it breaks my heart," said Dickerhoof.

The suit asks for a judge to order the elections supervisor, Dr. Brenda Snipes, to change the ballot layout or let voters know there are two questions in the same column and also display a notice in polling places.

The council wants yellow slip to be given to voters to clarify the issue. They said the supervisor of elections has refused.

When CBS4's Joan Murray  contacted the supervisors office they were told, "The ballot meets the requirements of the law.  It's clear.  There's a line separating the issue from amendment three."

Snipes issued a notice to voters to read ballots carefully and alerted voters to how many ballot questions are on the Broward ballot, but Children's Services Council officials believe the notice was not specific enough.

While early voting goes on, the council is going to court to argue the issue but its not known if anything will change.

The Sun Sentinel contributed to this report.



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