Opinion

Time to Disenfranchise Broward and Palm Beach Counties

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Posted: Nov 11, 2018 7:13 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent the views of Townhall.com.
Time to Disenfranchise Broward and Palm Beach Counties

Many people I know enjoy watching movies multiple times: from Gone With The Wind and Jurassic Park to Field of Dreams or La La Land, if it comes on TV they’ll watch it. A harmless vice…time-wasting but no lasting damage,

However, across America—and around the globe—we are all facing the prospect of a rerun we don’t want to experience: yet another stupid, protracted, over-lawyered “election recount” drama in the state of Florida. Unlike watching Batman Forever a few too many times, this rerun will “Make America UNgreat Again” by turning Florida and the USA into an international joke.

Three statewide contests—including Florida’s closely watched race for the U.S. Senate and the battle for Florida’s governor’s mansion—were thrown into official recounts on Saturday. Not because of any rampant fraud or malfeasance by voters or officials statewide. And not because of hacking or manipulation from foreign governments.

No. The reason we are again being forced to relive the nightmare and embarrassment first seen in the 2000 Bush/Gore “recount” (which took the U.S. Supreme court to resolve) and which in 2016 led to lawsuits over mishandling of ballots in a Congressional race is a familiar one: election “officials” in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Poster-child for the recurring incompetence in timely, accurate tabulation of ballots is—once again—Brenda Snipes, Broward supervisor of elections.

As Lou Dobbs observed on a Salem Radio Network commentary: “Rather than chasing phony leads about Russians interfering in our elections, the FBI and Federal authorities might be wiser to investigate vote tampering by elections officials in Broward and Palm Beach County.”

While Lou is on-target, such probes would inevitably just add to the circus by drawing-out even more lawyers than the ones already scurrying into Florida like rats in heat. 

What this latest totally unnecessary “emergency” requires is out of the box—to wit, radical—thinking. It is time to throw out ALL ballots cast November 6th in Palm Beach County and Broward County. Every one. Even Palm Beach County resident Rush Limbaugh’s. Whether cast for Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians or write-ins. Then use the accurately counted, professionally handled ballots from Florida’s remaining 65 counties to determine who won last week’s election for the next U.S. Senator, Governor and State Agriculture Commissioner.

This, of course, would elicit yowls from intelligent people (as well as from MSNBC hosts) that ALL voters in those two populous counties have thus been “disenfranchised” and they ALL should file lawsuits. 

Which is true. And they should.

The lawsuits should name as defendants the specific parties responsible for ballot irregularities ranging from idiotic butterfly ballots to the “hanging chads” and—a few days ago—the Provisional Ballots box a teacher suddenly “found” at Sunshine Elementary School in Miramar. The lawsuits should be filed against elections officials in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

My guess is that once these officials are held personally responsible for the repeated (to be charitable) bungling of the completed ballots which county residents had every right to believe would be accurately counted, two things would likely happen:  most of the current buffoons in those offices would be replaced, and—going forward—elections in Broward County and Palm Beach County would not cause Florida’s statewide winners to be held up by weeks of partisan wrangling because a ballot was misplaced or dropped off the back of a truck or burned up when a spark flew out of a toaster. That’s what we don’t even accept from elections in remote villages of Third World countries, much less in two of the most populous counties in Florida.

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Full disclosure: I do not personally know any of the officials involved, nor do I bear any of them ill will or impugn their motives or integrity. Brenda Snipes in Broward County, for example, may be a perfectly wonderful person. But the preponderance of the evidence available to us as laymen—especially the repeated inability over many years to swiftly and accurately complete tabulation of election results—leads me to believe she and other election officials have long ago outworn their welcome. 

When a proud office-seeker like Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum—who graciously conceded Tuesday evening to his rival Ron DeSantis after the “final” results were announced—has to look like a fool by “unconceding” on Friday once it turns out all the votes have STILL not been counted almost a week later, it is well past time to accept this as business as usual.

Disenfranchising this year’s ballots in Broward and Palm Beach counties will resolve the 2018 statewide races quickly, and ensure that future balloting will be overseen by competent, qualified elections supervisors rather than the current rogue’s gallery of political hacks.

Tom Tradup is Vice President of News & Talk Programming for the Salem Radio Network. He can be reached at ttradup@srnradio.com