Brenda Snipes, Broward County’s embattled supervisor of elections, submitted her resignation Sunday.
Snipes’ resignation, first reported by the Sun-Sentinel, came only hours after her staff ended a brutal two-week stretch in which they misplaced 2,000 ballots during a statewide recount, mixed about two dozen invalid ballots with about 200 good ones, and blew a deadline to submit machine recount results to the state.
Snipes was attacked as corrupt by President Donald Trump and other Republicans, accused without evidence of trying to steal the U.S. Senate election by Gov. Rick Scott and maligned as “incompetent” by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. Egged on by the allegations, Republican protestors spent days outside Snipes’ Lauderhill headquarters during a state-mandated recount claiming that she was rigging the elections.
Attempts to reach Snipes and contracted Broward elections attorney Burnadette Norris-Weeks Sunday night were not successful. The Sun-Sentinel reported that the effective date was likely during the first week of January.
Evelyn Pérez-Verdia, a former communications consultant for Snipes’ office, tweeted early Sunday evening that Snipes had sent her resignation to the state.
“I spoke to one of her key people, [who] has confirmed that the resignation letter was sent today,” Pérez-Verdia said on Twitter.
Snipes’ resignation ends a 15-year run that began in 2003 when then-governor Jeb Bush appointed her to replace beleaguered elections supervisor Miriam Oliphant, whom he’d suspended over mismanagement of her office. Snipes was elected in 2004 and reelected three times after, the latest in 2016 — an election in which she was lambasted for leaving a medical marijuana ballot question off some ballots and for illegally releasing vote totals before polls had closed.
Both issues were blamed on vendors.
But Snipes, 75, had a long history of trouble in her department. Republican attorneys accused her of improper procedures during the presidential election — attacks she blamed on politics in the state’s most Democratic county — and she was later admonished by a judge for prematurely destroying ballots from a congressional race.
Most recently, during the 2018 primaries, Democratic consultants grumbled about her department after it was slow in releasing results — ultimately a precursor for the general election, during which Snipes’ office continued for days to process early and absentee ballots, eventually helping to push races for governor, U.S. Senate and agriculture commissioner into mandated machine recounts. She lacked explanations when her office continued to process tens of thousands of early and absentee ballots in the two days that followed the close of polls on the midterm elections, and later ordered by a judge to turn over public records after Scott sued her for information that should have been publicly available.
“It’s a big operation but there are some things that need to be tweaked on all sides in terms of the processes that make up elections,” Snipes told reporters after the Broward canvassing board submitted its final 2018 elections to the state. Asked if she was concerned that governor-elect Ron DeSantis might suspend her from office, she said “my attorney says I should not answer that.”
Snipes’ resignation will leave the position to be filled by a person of DeSantis’ choosing. Whoever runs the office will oversee Broward’s handling of the 2020 presidential election.
Miami Herald reporter Alex Harris contributed to this report.
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