Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes Resigns, But How She Got The Job Goes Beyond Irony

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Posted: Nov 19, 2018 6:05 AM
Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes Resigns, But How She Got The Job Goes Beyond Irony

Incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) isn’t the only person not retuning to his job in the near future. Broward County’s Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes is out as well. While she wasn’t voted out or removed from her post, she promptly tendered her resignation, ending a 15-year reign of incompetence that makes anyone wonder how she was able to keep her job. Then again, Broward is a Democratic bastion and one of the problem children when it comes to Florida elections; Palm Beach County, another liberal haven, is Broward’s equally incompetent sibling. Both counties had ballot-counting procedures that were not transparent and did not give regular updates on the outstanding ballot count. 

It was an operation so entrenched in the basement that Republican Gov. Rick Scott, now officially Senator-elect Scott, had to file lawsuits to shed some light into what the hell was going on down there. Palm Beach had much more serious allegations of possible fraud, specifically when it came to replacement ballots. In that instance, an election official can fill out a new ballot in case the machines cannot read one. It’s supposed to prevent disenfranchisement, but also carries a great risk of fraud. Hence why there’s a witness procedure in this process; Scott’s lawsuit alleges that his campaign representatives were barred from overseeing this part of the ballot counting operation in Palm Beach. With Scott ahead by at least 10,000 votes after a couple days into the hand recount, Nelson conceded. With the conclusion of a frenetic 2018 cycle in the Sunshine State, Snipes called it quits (via Sun Sentinel):

Just hours after finishing a tumultuous election recount, Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes submitted her resignation, ending a 15-year tenure full of botched elections, legal disputes and blistering criticism.

“It is true. She did send it,” said Burnadette Norris-Weeks, an attorney who works as counsel to the Supervisor of Elections Office.

Evelyn Perez-Verdia, a former office spokeswoman who left several years ago, said Sunday evening she was told by people in the office that the letter was sent “to Tallahassee” earlier in the day.

Norris-Weeks said she saw an early draft of the letter. In the version she saw, she said Snipes, 75, expressed a desire to spend more time with her family.

The voice mail on Snipes’ cell phone was full Sunday night, and she didn’t immediately respond to a text message.

The exact effective date of the resignation was unclear Sunday evening.

Yet, that’s not after she bungled yet another Election Day in her county. Oh, and Broward was late in their mandatory machine recount…by two minutes. Thus, the results of the original unofficial count were not accepted. In day two of the hand recount, there was a temporary stop because lawyers from both campaigns found that volunteers were counting the wrong ballots.

This whole saga was a dumpster fire—and in both counties. Palm Beach County elections supervisor Susan Bucher said that the lawsuit Scott filed might be racist, or something, and she threatened to arrest reporters for filming and photographing…the public canvassing meeting. In Broward, they mixed in rejected provisional ballots with good ones. Oh, and that ruling that said their ballot counting operation was a public records laws violation—they decided to ignore it. Ms. Snipes has long been a target for criticism in how she’s quarterbacked the county’s election operations. The history is quite extensive; so don’t give us the ‘spend more time with your family’ crap. For 15 years, you’ve been absolute trash at your job. From shoddy absentee ballot distribution to illegally destroying congressional primary ballots, Snipes has been at the center of it all:

She’s been subject to waves of criticism for long lines and slow vote counts in multiple elections.

Most serious was a circuit judge’s ruling earlier this year that her office violated state and federal law by destroying ballots from the 2016 primary election too early. She authorized the ballot destruction 12 months after the primary, instead of waiting 22 months as required.

The ballot destruction took place while the ballots were the subject of a public records lawsuit from a losing candidate seeking to inspect the documents.

In 2016, four voters reported receiving ballots that didn’t contain a referendum on legalizing medical marijuana. Snipes’ office said the problem wasn’t widespread, and a circuit court judge said she was taking sufficient action to correct it.

Also in 2016, in the primary election, results were posted on the elections office website before the polls closed, a violation of state law. An outside contractor took responsibility for the mistake.

And in 2012, almost 1,000 uncounted ballots were discovered a week after the election.

[…]

Snipes was appointed supervisor of elections in 2003 by former Gov. Jeb Bush, after he removed a previous supervisor of elections for incompetence. Bush became one of her critics last week, writing on Twitter it was time for her to go.

She was elected to a full term in 2004, then re-elected in 2008, 2012 and 2016. She makes $178,865 a year after a 20 percent raise in 2016, and two smaller raises since then.

Wait—she was appointed to this post after her predecessor was removed for being…incompetent. There seems to be a pattern here, huh?

Also, let’s not forget that there are some serious allegations of fraud that should be investigated. But for now, so long, Ms. Snipes.