After a judge found her to have violated Florida elections law and amid reports of more highly suspicious actions by her office, the supervisor of elections for Broward County, Brenda Snipes, is expected to be “forced from office” by either Gov. Rick Scott or governor-elect Ron DeSantis, Politico reports.
“Counting unlawful votes. Destroying ballots. Sunshine Law violations. Busted deadlines,” Politico’s Marc Caputo writes. “So many controversies have bedeviled Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes — culminating in her office’s troubles in the aftermath of Florida’s chaotic 2018 elections — that her days in office are now numbered, insiders and lawmakers say.”
Even Snipes’ fellow Democrats have begun to abandon her amid her increasingly indefensible mishandling of the count, which has already resulted in a judge finding her in violation of Florida election law, Snipes’ office accidentally mixing invalidated ballots into legitimate results, and a suspicious series of reports of “found” ballots and illegally transported ballots.
The situation is adding up to “the increasing likelihood of an embarrassing suspension from office at the hands of either Gov. Rick Scott or his likely successor, Ron DeSantis,” Caputo reports.
With 100% of the vote counted, but automatic recounts in process, Scott and DeSantis lead their Democrat opponents by about 12,500 and 33,700 votes out of over 8 million votes cast, respectively. The gap in Scott’s contest against incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson is less than 0.25%, triggering a hand recount. The gap between DeSantis and Democrat Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is less than 0.5%, triggering a machine recount.
The races tightened in the eleventh hour, with Democrat-strongholds Broward County and Palm Beach County slowly disclosing more largely pro-Democrat votes, while failing to follow state law in transparency regarding the process.
Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has been sounding the alarm over the actions of Broward and Palm Beach, slammed Snipes’ office as “the most troubled elections office in the nation” and Snipes as having “shown she’s incapable of conducting a large and important election in a way that inspires public confidence and trust.”
Among the troubling actions of Snipes, he noted, are destroying ballots and opening absentee ballots early, both in violation of state law, and misprinting ballots. Her office was also caught mixing in illegal votes with valid votes:
#BrowardElections office admits the vote count they submitted to state includes 22 illegal votes.
We know about these 22 because they got caught breaking law in reviewing 202 ballots. How can anyone trust more illegal votes aren’ in their final count?https://t.co/DiLApbnGbx
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 10, 2018
While Snipes’ attorney has attempted to dismiss the series of reports and accusations as “political gamesmanship,” according to Caputo’s sources, the elections supervisor appears to know her days in office are numbered:
Democrats say Snipes has privately confided that she plans to quit, but it’s unclear when. “I hope it’s soon,” said one state Senate Democrat who declined to be named. “Otherwise, she’s a goner.” Heading into the election, Democratic campaigns fretted about what her mismanagement would do in the second-largest Democratic county in the state.
Meanwhile, both Scott and DeSantis are holding their cards close, knowing their comments might come back to haunt them in court, Caputo’s Republican sources say.
“I need to be careful with what I say about her,” Scott reportedly told one of the sources in confidence. Scott is “focused on winning,” the source added. “He’s senator-elect and he has blinders on to make sure it stays that way.”