Rick Scott Suspends Controversial Broward County Elections Supervisor Before She Can Resign Early

Florida Governor Rick Scott
Florida Governor Rick Scott / Getty Images
• November 30, 2018 9:05 pm


Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R.) on Friday decided to suspend Brenda Snipes, the supervisor of elections for Broward County, Florida, from office due to a series of voting and ballot controversies during the 2018 midterms and previous election cycles.

Scott said in a statement to Politico that he is suspending Snipes, who holds an elected office, because taxpayers should not be burdened by paying her salary after she announced her resignation.

"Every eligible voter in Florida deserves their vote to be counted and should have confidence in Florida's elections process," Scott said. "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."

Scott's longtime fixer, attorney Pete Antonacci, will replace Snipes.

Scott could have allowed Snipes to stay in her role until she resigns in January, but someone close to the governor said that his decision was "a long time coming" and that she "had it coming to her," according to Politico.

Snipes began discussing an early retirement date in earnest after Politico first reported she was likely to be suspended from office for incompetence. Democrats said they couldn't support Snipes any more, either. And some suspect that the flawed ballot she designed in Broward County may have led to so many undervotes that it helped cost Scott's Democratic opponent, Sen. Bill Nelson, the election.

Over the years, her office has been a hotbed for elections controversies, from appearing to accept unlawful votes, destroying ballots, busting deadlines, and even violating the Sunshine Law concerning open records. The latter controversy brought Snipes into direct conflict with Scott.

After Election Day, Snipes' office failed to regularly update the state's system with ballot totals as required by law. Instead, Broward began uploading tens of thousands of votes—sometimes in the middle of the night—leading Scott to hold an extraordinary press conference Nov. 8 and charge, without evidence, that "rampant fraud" could be taking place in the Democratic-heavy counties of Broward and Palm Beach.

Snipes, whose term runs through the 2020 elections, announced earlier this month that she will resign after she was found to have destroyed ballots earlier than allowed in a previous election and regularly lost absentee ballots, among other issues. She became the subject of national scrutiny after several mishaps earlier this month concerning the recount of the Senate race between Nelson, the incumbent, and Scott, who eventually was declared the winner.

"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 in her resignation letter to Scott. "Therefore, I request that you accept my letter of resignation effective January 4, 2019."

Snipes is expected to take home almost $71,000 a year in pensions for her time in elected office, in addition to $58,560 a year from her previous career as an educator, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Published under: 2018 Election, Florida, Rick Scott