TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — As Broward County's supervisor of election moves to appeal her suspension from office by Gov. Rick Scott, state lawmakers are preparing for a hearing that could be marked by recriminations over Florida's problem-riddled 2018 election.
- Snipes will appeal suspension to Senate Ethics and Elections Committee
- Committee will likely hear several complaints about the state's system
- PREVIOUS STORY: Broward Elections Chief Vows to Fight to the End
Under state law, the ousted supervisor, Brenda Snipes, will have her appeal considered by the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee. Controlled by Republicans, the panel has oversight of the state's election system.
"We've made lots of achievements, accomplishments, and have always done our work in an air of quality and integrity," Snipes told reporters.
She had previously resolved to resign in January, but is rescinding her resignation letter in the wake of the governor's action.
Scott narrowly won a U.S. Senate seat after seeing his margin chipped away while votes were being counted in Broward County.
The governor has installed a confidante, Republican Pete Antonacci, to fill Snipes' position in the largest blue county in the state. If Snipes isn't reinstated by the Senate, Antonacci would oversee voting in Broward during the 2020 presidential election.
"Ninety-three thousand ballots showed up after Election Night. The supervisor lost ballots. They mingled legal and illegal ballots. They didn't report on time," Scott said in defending his decision to suspend Snipes.
But the supervisor's defenders have assailed Scott and Republican lawmakers for doing little to fix what they say are glaring problems with the state's election laws.
Recount deadlines were missed, they argue, because they were unreasonable. Guidance on determining the fates of ballots flagged for undervotes and overvotes is lacking, they say, and aging tabulation equipment is in need of replacement, which could require state funding.
Those issues will almost certainly be broached during the Snipes suspension hearing.
"As soon as you start treating groups of electors differently under the law or under the practices, you start bumping into the constitutional equal-protection argument, and requirements that we all be treated in a similar manner. And so, the state has to be the leveling apparatus," said Ron Meyer, an election law attorney who worked on behalf of Democrats during this fall's recounts.