Brenda Snipes Submits Resignation as Broward Elections Supervisor After Tumultuous Midterms

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
November 19, 2018Politics

A Florida elections supervisor whose office violated state law and Constitution while tallying the midterm election results has submitted her resignation.

Brenda Snipes supervised the election in Broward County and faced heavy criticism over her bungling of the recount, which included several severe instances of incompetence or worse.

Snipes repeatedly refused to provide vote totals following the Nov. 6 midterms, violating state law, and her office admitted to mixing illegal votes with legal votes. Results for a machine recount were submitted two minutes after a deadline, making them invalid and hurting the office’s perception even more since the vote totals of the recount would have added to Republican Rick Scott’s lead.

The worst may have been saved for last. Snipes said on Nov. 17 that her office misplaced more than 2,000 ballots, amid a hand recount for the U.S. Senate and commissioner of agriculture contests. Snipes claimed that the ballots were “in the building” but missing, blaming some members of her team.

In 2012, almost 1,000 uncounted ballots in Broward were discovered in the county a week after the election and in 2004, her office said 58,000 absentee ballots were lost.

Just this year, Snipes was under fire for destroying ballots after the primary.

The series of mishaps led to calls for Snipes to be removed from office, and the resignation sets the stage for a replacement to be named.

Dr. Brenda Snipes, Broward County Supervisor of Elections
Dr. Brenda Snipes, Broward County Supervisor of Elections, makes a statement during a Lauderhill, Florida, canvassing board meeting on Nov. 10, 2018. (Joe Skipper/Getty Images)

Resignation Submitted

Burnadette Norris-Weeks, an attorney who works as counsel to the Supervisor of Elections Office, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Snipes has tendered her resignation. In the early draft she saw, Snipes expressed a desire to spend more time with her family.

Snipes, 75, has served as county election supervisor for 15 years.

While there was initially some confusion about the date of her resignation, with Norris-Weeks saying it was effective Jan. 2 and Evelyn Pérez-Verdia, a former communications consultant for Snipes’ office,  saying it was effective on Jan. 5, Politico reporter Marc Caputo obtained the official resignation letter, showing it to be set for Jan. 4.

Due to her resignation being effective in January, Governor-elect Ron DeSantis will be responsible for appointing Snipes’s replacement. If it was earlier, outgoing Gov. Rick Scott, who was elected to the Senate, would have appointed the replacement.

Elections staff load ballots into machines
Elections staff load ballots into machines as recounting begins at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office in Lauderhill, Florida on Nov. 11, 2018. (Joe Skipper/Getty Images)

Possible Suspension

If Snipes had not resigned then she would have likely been forced into retirement, Politico reported.

“Snipes’ office failed to regularly provide vote total updates to the state every 45 minutes as the numbers came in, causing tens of thousands of votes in the races for U.S. Senate, governor, and agriculture commissioner to seemingly materialize out of thin air,” the outlet summarized one of the problems.

“That resulted in the Republicans’ margins shrinking due to the vast number of votes in the Democratic stronghold of Broward, Florida’s second-most populous county.”

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