Alabama Secretary of State’s Office reprinting 2.7 million ballots to correct Amendment 2 language

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Secretary of State's Office says it is correcting 2.7 million ballots for the November election.

The group Conservation Alabama says it notified the state of an error with the language for Amendment 2. The first two paragraphs were left off the sample ballot. The group says this means key language that addressed the permanent protection of state parks funding was omitted.

Read the full amendment text in the amendment guide from the Secretary of State versus the text on the sample ballot.

Amendment 2 would safeguard the funds within Alabama State Parks. The amendment would provide that the monies made within the parks stay there, and would prevent those funds garnered by the parks from being transferred elsewhere.

The bill passed in the Regular Session and was sponsored by District 9 Senator Clay Scofield.

Scofield says the omission on the ballots holds key wording. "The first two paragraphs essentially tell the bulk of what the amendment does," Scofield explains, "So it describes to the voters that the amendment is to protect state park funding."

Scofield says the omission on the ballot resulted in a misleading explanation. "That's not giving the voter an accurate assessment of what the amendment does," Scofield says.

The Secretary of State's Office attributed the problem with the ballot language to human error. Officials say the employee assigned to the task is no longer an employee of the Office of the Secretary of State. In a statement, officials say "The Secretary is reviewing the events that occurred which promulgated this error and any instances of intentional neglect will be addressed accordingly".

Absentee ballots were mailed out before the state was notified of the mistake. The Secretary of State says if anyone has already voted with an incorrect absentee ballot, the vote will still count. You can request a new absentee ballot.

Scofield says he's worried the omission could have an effect on the outcome of those votes. "They may not think that we're telling them the full story of what it does, that maybe it doesn't do what we said it does, and that could be detrimental to the passage of the amendment," Scofield said.

There is no estimation of how much it will cost just yet to reprint them. They're waiting on an invoice from the printing company.

Officials say 3.1 million ballots were needed for the election. That entire project cost the state about $1 million.

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