Politico Reporter: Broward County Election Practices Are 'Nonsensical'

November 9, 2018

Marc Caputo, the co-author of Politico's Florida Playbook, said Friday that the election practices in Broward County, Florida are "nonsensical" as the county faces widespread scrutiny for its handling of ballots in the 2018 midterm elections.

Caputo appeared on MSNBC's "MTP Daily," where host Chuck Todd asked the Politico reporter whether he knows how many ballots need to be counted  in Broward County.

"No, we don't, and in fact, a Miami Herald reporter just tweeted about an hour ago that, 'Hey, we were told yesterday about all the early in-person votes had been tallied,' and then they found out today, 'Oh, actually no, not all the early in-person votes had been tallied. There's tens more,'" Caputo said.

Caputo then compared Broward County's election office to Alice of Alice in Wonderland talking to the caterpillar, adding that the county's electoral system becomes "nonsensical."

"Elections are about records management, clocking who comes in, tracking who comes in, tracking who comes out," Caputo continued. "You can follow elections almost in real-time when it's early in-person voting and absentee ballot voting, but for some reason in Broward County, that just doesn't seem to happen. And, as a result, nobody really knows how many ballots are still left out there, how many provisional ballots, overseas ballots are going to trickle in now. Nobody should know and nobody does know how many of those are coming in, so it's still kind of in flux."

Caputo's criticism of Broward County, which has a history of vote-counting problems, stems from the failure of the county's elections supervisor, Brenda Snipes, to report the number of votes received by the jurisdiction for the Senate election between incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.) and his Republican challenger, incumbent Gov. Rick Scott (Fla.), at the end of the early voting period. Snipes was unable to say how many more votes remained uncounted earlier on Friday, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

A judge ruled in favor of Republicans on Friday afternoon, finding that Snipes had violated both the state constitution and the public records act and ordering her to make all voting records available by 7:00 p.m. Friday.

[Sen. Marco] Rubio [R., Fla.] decried the fact that control of a Senate seat was "potentially in the hands of an elections supervisor with a history of incompetence and of blatant violations of state and federal laws."

Scott has expressed frustration at the new votes coming in from Broward, which have already narrowed his margin of victory over Nelson.

Florida election officials have until Saturday to tally votes. If the margin between the two candidates is 0.5 percentage points or less, there will be a statewide recount.

Scott is currently ahead of Nelson by about 15,000 votes.