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Beleaguered Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes Resigns

By Nancy Smith

Brenda Snipes has resigned from her post as supervisor of elections for Broward County, effective Jan. 4, 2019.

“Although I have enjoyed this work tremendously over these many election cycles, both large and small, I am ready to pass the torch,” Snipes wrote Sunday in a resignation letter addressed to Rick Scott, a governor she infuriated with her election mistakes, whether unintentional or deliberate.

The Sun-Sentinel was first to report the news of Snipes’ resignation.

Republicans jumped on Snipes, a Democrat, who oversaw the hapless vote counting effort in Broward County, for committing fraud by not following the letter of the law within her constitutional office. She dismissed all criticism as politically motivated.

She was quoted by network television as saying, “I can’t wait for this to be over.”

Florida’s recount ended Sunday when all the state’s 67 counties — including Broward — submitted their final vote totals to Secretary of State Ken Detzner.

During the recount, Snipes publicly talked about stepping down.

“It is time to move on, to let someone else (do the job)” Snipes said. When a reporter asked whether she would resign, she said, “Well, I haven’t finalized that. I’ll just check with my family. They’ll tell me what I’m doing,” she said.

Snipes had a history of legal issues during her time as supervisor of elections for the county.

A judge ruled that she violated state and federal laws when she destroyed ballots too soon after the 2016 election, despite Tim Canova, a Democratic candidate in a primary race, taking her to court to preserve the ballots and a federal requirement that mandates ballots be kept for 22 months after an election.

She was also named in a 2016 lawsuit over the John Morgan-inspired medical marijuana amendment that was missing from some absentee ballots, and other suit in 2018 regarding when and how her staff could open absentee ballots.

Snipes was appointed to her position in 2003 by then-Gov. Jeb Bush after he removed her predecessor, Miriam Oliphant, for gross negligence. Snipes went on to win re-election four times, most recently in 2016.

Scott, the Republican Senate candidate, put Snipes at the center of his recount effort, suing her shortly before the recount began, and calling her out by name — along with Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher — during a televised statement on the steps of the governor’s mansion.

Bush, the governor who appointed Snipes, perhaps sealed her fate.

“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 last Monday. “Supervisor Snipes should be removed from her office following the recounts.”

     Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at (228) 282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith. CNN provided much of information for this story.

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