The latest turn of events in the Broward County saga came over the weekend after Scott issued an executive order to immediately remove and replace Snipes, who herself was appointed by former Gov. Jeb Bush to replace another embattled supervisor in 2003.
“Every eligible voter in Florida deserves their vote to be counted and should have confidence in Florida’s elections process,” Scott said in a statement. “After a series of inexcusable actions, it’s clear that there needs to be an immediate change in Broward County and taxpayers should no longer be burdened by paying a salary for a supervisor of elections who has already announced resignation.”
Peter Antonacci, a Republican attorney who recently led Enterprise Florida, Florida’s corporate recruitment arm, and previously directed the South Florida Water Management District, was appointed to replace Snipes.
“I know that Pete will be solely focused on running free and fair elections, will not be running for election and will bring order and integrity back to this office,” Scott said.
Antonacci, 70, will serve the remainder of Snipes’ term, which runs through the 2020 presidential election. The Broward County election supervisor position is normally elected by voters outside of replacements such as this one.
Snipes’ office violated federal law earlier last year when it destroyed a number of primary ballots, violated the state Constitution in November by not submitting vote updates in the manner mandated by law, and ended up losing thousands of ballots, among other issues.
Snipes announced her resignation, effective Jan. 4, shortly after the final recount wrapped up, and was due to receive a nearly $71,000 pension from her time as supervisor.
According to the Miami Herald, it’s not clear if the suspension will affect the pension.
Under Florida’s Constitution, the state Senate would normally hold a hearing to officially consider removing Snipes from office, but it’s also not clear if that process will take place considering Snipes already tendered her resignation.
Snipes announced after Scott’s suspension that she was rescinding her resignation. She has refused to take responsibility for any law violations or mistakes, blaming them on underlings.
Broward elections office attorney Burnadette Norris Weeks continued the theme, claiming Scott was holding Snipes to a different standard than the other election supervisors in Florida, “as if there can never be a mistake made.”
Surrounded by pastors, officials, and community leaders at the press conference on Saturday, Snipes said people should keep an open mind.
“We’ve made lots of achievements, accomplishments and have always done our work in an air of quality and integrity,” Snipes said, reported the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Snipes now wants to serve as supervisor through the 2020 elections.
“We will be fighting this to the very end,” said Norris Weeks.