Florida Lies on the Ballot, Voters Say

     TALLAHASSEE (CN) - Florida voters sued the state, claiming lawmakers crafted the title and summary of Amendment 9 on the November ballot to mislead the public about the measure's true intent - thwarting the Obama administration's health care reform. The voters say the argumentative language "summarizes" things that are not even referred to in the amendment.
     Plaintiffs Louisa McQueeney, Gracie Fowler, Diana Demerest and Mona Mangat claim that in at three instances the summary, which has been approved by Florida's Department of State, is blatantly false and little more than "political commentary" intended to mask its real purpose.
     In the first two instances, the summary states that Amendment 9 to the Florida Constitution would "ensure access to health care services without waiting lists" and would "protect the doctor-patient relationship."
     In fact, the complaint states, the amendment does not have anything to do with either of those concerns, nor does it even refer to them.
     The plaintiffs also take issue with the statement that the amendment will "guard against mandates that don't work."
     "There can be no better example of the overt political nature of the false statements contained in the ballot title and summary than this," the complaint states.
     "The amendment, as written, has nothing to do with any 'mandates,' nor does it explain how any such mandates 'don't work,' nor does it state how the amendment would protect against some phantom unworkable mandates."
     The plaintiffs say the ballot summary is "nothing more than political commentary on the federal health care reform act," and is far from the constitutionally required "clear and unambiguous statement" of purpose of any amendment presented for public consideration.
     The plaintiffs - two of whom reside in Palm Beach County, an election district infamous for its role in the disputed 2000 presidential election - ask the court to declare the ballot title and summary invalid, and to enjoin the defendant Department of State and defendant Dawn Roberts, the interim secretary of state, from placing the amendment on the ballot.
     The women are represented in Leon County Court by Mark Herron with Messer, Caparello & Self in Tallahassee.