Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes has finally decided to move on after another botched election — the latest in a long string of mishaps that have colored her 15-year career as the Florida county’s top election official.
Just hours after completing yet another recount, Snipes submitted her resignation by letter, Burnadette Norris-Weeks, an attorney who works as counsel to the Supervisor of Elections Office, told the Sun Sentinel.
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.
Snipes came under fire after the county had numerous problems after the mid-term election on November 6, including missing a Thursday deadline for a recount in the Florida Senate race won by Republican Rick Scott. Then Snipes announced that Broward officials had somehow “lost” 2,040 ballots that were misplaced, misfiled or mixed in with others.
“We have been trying to determine what could have caused the drop. What we believe is that in the recount area … I believe those ballots were probably mixed in with another stack,” Snipes told the elections Canvassing Board. “The ballots are in the building. The ballots are in this building. There would be nowhere else for them to be. But they are misfiled in this building.”
State officials had ordered a manual recount on November 8 after a machine recount showed fewer votes in the county than the total number of votes reported to the state on November 10.
Snipes, a Democrat, alleged that racism was to blame for criticism against her. When asked if race played a factor, she told The Guardian newspaper: “Probably. Probably.”
President Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush all ripped Snipes for her incompetence.
“There is no question that Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes failed to comply with Florida law on multiple counts, undermining Floridians’ confidence in our electoral process,” Bush wrote on Twitter November 12. “Supervisor Snipes should be removed from her office following the recounts.”
Rubio 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.
The Sun Sentinel catalogued Snipes’ many problems during her tenure:
— A court ruled she had broken election law when she destroyed ballots from the 2016 election 12 months after it, instead of the 22 months required by federal law.
— A medical marijuana amendment was left off some ballots in 2016.
— Election results in the 2016 primary were posted on the elections office’s website before polls closed, another violation of election law.
— In 2012, almost 1,000 uncounted ballots were discovered a week after the election
— In 2004, some 58,000 mail-in ballots were not delivered to voters, leaving election officials to scramble to send new ones.