Errors Jeopardize Children’s Service Council





Here we go again! Florida voting mishaps have been legend. It looks like 2014 will not disappoint.

One of the issues on the ballot is the reauthorization of the Children’s Services Council. This Council helps fund services for 150,000 needy children across Broward County.

At issue, if the Council is not reauthorized, some of the service providers will be eliminated and all providers will lose funding. The impact on children is CSC is not reauthorized is staggering.

But, a known problem with voter confusion is jeopardizing CSC and children.

On page 1A of the ballot, there are three columns. The first two columns go the full length of the page, with the space for voting at the very bottom. When you get to column three, the title at the top is an item commonly referred to as “Amendment 3”.

For weeks, voters have been reporting that they have erred in voting on this page. After voting in column one at the bottom and then column two at the bottom, they moved on column three. Intending to vote “NO” on Amendment 3, they went to the bottom of the column and voted “NO”.

Here’s the problem : voting “NO” at the bottom is a “no” vote for CSC Reauthorization. To vote “NO” on Amendment 3, you have to vote in the middle of the column. CSC Reauthorization is separated by a thin line and the voting section for Amendment 3 is not prominent.

Some voters have, before casting their vote, caught the error and requested a replacement ballot. In fact, the returned ballots have been reviewed by the Supervisor of Elections office for this very problem.

Voters with Absentee Ballots have been confused as to how they can correct their mistakes. The instructions explain you can’t cross out your vote. So, do you send in your ballot with the other important votes accurate sacrificing the CSC or become disenfranchised entirely?

If local, you can request your Absentee Ballot be destroyed and obtain a ballot to vote. But, what if you are a first time voter at a University out of area? While it is true you can, in fact, cross out and write your intention, your ballot won’t be counted until it is reviewed by the canvassing board to determine your true intention.

Much more alarming are the voters who do not even realize they voted against the CSC reauthorization, thinking they were voting “NO” on Amendment 3.


Supervisor ‘s Lawyers Thwart Solutions


The complaints have been piling up at the Supervisor of Elections office.

Citizens for Broward’s Children requested a solution. Initially, the Supervisor’s office was supportive of providing a specific but unbiased notice to each voter that would address the known and now well-identified mechanism of voter confusion – explaining there are 4 items on page 1A.

However, at the last minute, lawyers for the Supervisor blocked this idea. Seriously? If we had the opportunity to go back and stop hanging chads or explain the butterfly ballot, would we do nothing?

But, then, reversing course again, the Supervisor, in essence admitting there is an voter error problem, chose to post a generalized notice on facebook and put some generalized sign somewhere in the precincts reminding voters there are three constitutional issues, one county issue and one school board issue. In other words, read your ballot.

Good luck to voters extracting that guidance from all the “noise” and clutter in and around the precincts.

As a result, Citizens for Broward’s Children was forced to file a lawsuit seeking emergency relief: either every ballot be produced to avoid the Amendment 3 and CSC reauthorization from being in the same column; or, in the alternative, each voter be provided specific and unbiased notice at the time of receiving their respective ballot of the existence of four (4) items to be considered on page 1A and there are two (2) items in column three (3) of page 1A and that a notice be placed in the privacy booth as well.


Impact of Voter Error?

After the election, we will better understand the impact.

First, we will be able to gather the undervotes on Amendment 3. Perhaps the voter didn’t vote on Amendment 3 because they didn’t want to vote on the matter or it is because they incorrectly thought the place to vote was at the bottom of the third column.

Second, this voter error may jeopardize reauthorization of CSC and services to 150,000 children.

Third, we will debate what the true voter intention was on Amendment 3 – a constitutional matter with state-wide impact.

Then, we will talk about the legacy of this year’s election. In the meantime, children’s programs hang in the balance.


(Michael Ryan is a lawyer representing the Citizens For Broward’ s Children. )

21 Responses to “Errors Jeopardize Children’s Service Council”

  1. Triptrey says:

    A mistake from the Broward supervisors office? Shocker! Geez, what does it take to screw up the one job that really matters. How many screw ups does it take to get her out?

  2. Oscar says:

    Isn’t it time for Brenda to retire???

  3. crock of sh%* says:

    Always a bleeping excuse…people have no interest in supporting a never ending tax which this is. Maybe a miniscule amount made a mistake but this is a desperate grab for the insiders to keep the csc piggy bank going. When is Levy and his group going to sue?

  4. Ha Ha Ha says:

    And look at all the free space they had on page 2! Way more than enough room to give each proposition its very own column on the ballot…

  5. Sam The Sham says:

    This is outrageous! I think that the SOE should be forced to buy every voter a pair of reading glasses and to send each voter to a remedial course in reading comprehension.

    Honest to God. If someone is so stupid that they cannot read a ballot written in plain English they should have their voting rights taken away.

    This is a non issue and the CSC together with their connected vendors and suppliers are trying to muddy the waters. VOTE NO ON THE CSC!

  6. West Davie Resident says:

    I voted No regarding the CSC and meant to do so. I hope my vote is not changed by somebody on the canvassing board because they think I meant to vote yes if the board is required to review every absentee ballot because of the CSC lawsuit.

    As to the merits of Mr Ryan’ claim that many service providers will go out of existence if the measure fails, many believe there is no need for a middleman organization, housed in an overpriced building, to act as the taxpayer’s conscience in allocating our contributions – whoops I mean taxes – to their charities of choice.

    But it is sad that yet another election is being affected by another incompetent Election Superviser who apparently does not have the intelligence to focus group test her ballots’ layout and wording before spending millions of taxpayer dollars to print and distribute them.

  7. Señor Censor says:

    Simply put No means NO….there is not a hanging ink chad.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Admirable pro bono work by our next state senator Mike Ryan

  9. frank says:

    Let me guess, the answer is electronic ballots…

  10. Susan says:

    GEEZ!!! Will you all give it a break. I have voted and had no problem finding the Children Services question.
    What do you all want a single vote on a single page? The ballots would be over 24 pages long!!!!!!!

    Look at the first page and ONLY the first page:

    Attorney General
    Chief Financial Officer
    Commissioner of Agriculture
    State Senator
    State House
    Four Stupid questions on keeping Judges
    Two choices on judges
    Broward Soil and Water

    ALL ON PAGE ONE!!!!!


    Stop complaining like ANDREW MARKOFF does 24 hours a day on BROWARDBLUE.ORG

    Try growing a pair!!!!!!

  11. Susan says:

    “Triptrey says:
    October 25th, 2014 at 5:31 pm
    A mistake from the Broward supervisors office? Shocker! Geez, what does it take to screw up the one job that really matters. How many screw ups does it take to get her out?”

    Triptrey, you do realize you are talking about a BLACK WOMAN, right?

  12. Plain Language says:

    No because no, I said no so vote no. Only I matter nobody else, as in no. Thank you.

  13. Señor Censor says:

    I believe SOE’s legal counsel does not have time to litigate she is too busy working at her concession stand at FLL make sure you check the expiration dates on her goods.

  14. Bob Adams says:

    Honestly, does anyone take responsibility anymore? We all want our ballots counted properly by the Supervisor of Elections; but we can’t take 15 minutes to thoroughly read the ballot and make sure we are voting as we intended to? The ballot layout flows easily from one question to another. What was the SOE supposed to do, leave part of a page blank because Amendment 3 did not take up as much space? I hope this does not harm the Children’s Services Council; that would be a travesty. However, this mistake would be the responsibility of individuals, not the Supervisor of Elections.

  15. PFLA says:

    Stacy Ritter for SOE!

  16. Alice McGill says:

    There was plenty of space on page 3 to put the Children’s Services Council question beside the School Board bond issue. However, even with all the languages and boxes, the CSC question was distinguishable.

    I am more concerned with the name of a convicted felon who was running for office in Dania Beach still being on the ballot. There is a notice attached to the voting booths saying votes for him will not count;however, people being people, some will still vote for him. That makes for another dirty election in Dania Beach, home of the absentee ballot fraud of 2012.

    I totally agree with those who think Snipes should resign or retire. Every election has too many snafus.

  17. Observer says:

    There is no “error” on the ballot. The CSC executive director even said the ballot was legally sufficient.

    Just because a person or group don’t like the layout doesnt mean it’s wrong.

    This is much ado about nothing.

    Quite frankly, it’s a bunch of insiders worried the teat will dry up.

  18. John Henry says:

    Mike Ryan: The answer to a question that nobody had asked.

    You know this whole CSC thing is a scam when the Broward Career Politicians start weighing in on keeping it funded.

  19. Ghost of McLovin says:

    The ballot is not confusing – the voters of the County are deciding not to reauthorize taxing themselves again for an organization that has no purpose but give a reason for our elected officials to get together at their taj mahal and slap each other on the back. Find a new cause

  20. then what says:

    So, Buddy, what happens if the vote comes out to a “no?” You say the affect on children services would be “staggering.” I’m assuming that our taxes would go down, but couldn’t Broward County pick up the slack (and probably have to raise taxes.) Doesn’t the county have some of the stuff in place already, but on a smaller scale?

  21. just one no vote says:

    I didn’t know mike ryanmayor of sunrise had handlers.
    now I do.
    are they co-worker lawyers or just cronies who wives and kids get paid to look busy working at 6600 w commercial?