UPDATE

Suspended Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes has rescinded her January 4, 2019 resignation and intends to fight her suspension from office. 

Snipes’ attorney made the announcement during a Saturday news conference. The attorney accused Gov. Scott of being vindictive in suspending Snipes just over a month from her planned resignation. 

Snipes only avenue to fight the suspension is the Florida Senate, though her attorney indicated they may take their fight to the courts. 

ORIGINAL STORY

In a move supported by Republicans and Democrats alike, Governor Rick Scott has suspended Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes, ending her tenure in the job. Snipes was universally panned for her handling of the November general election in Florida’s second largest county. 

Scott has replaced Snipes with his former general counsel and a former deputy attorney general Pete Antonacci, who currently serves as CEO of Enterprise Florida. 

Following the delayed resolution of the statewide general election, Snipes announced her resignation effective January 4, 2019. But Gov. Scott made it clear she needed to be punished for her role in the election debacle and not allow Snipes to set the terms of her own departure. 

“Every eligible voter in Florida deserves their vote to be counted and should have confidence in Florida’s elections process,” Gov. 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.”

In using his constitutional authority to remove Snipes, Scott cited a number of irregularities including mixing legally cast ballots with those deemed to be invalid, her inability to provide the number of votes casts in Broward County during the election window and refusing to allow inspection of public records. The Governor also cited missing a statutory deadline for submitting election results to the Florida Division of Elections.  

Democrats also blame Snipes’ confusing ballot design for causing Bill Nelson his job as U.S. Senator. Nearly 30,000 Broward County residents who cast votes in the governor’s race didn’t vote in the Senate race. The Senate contest was listed at the bottom of the ballot directions in the predominately Democratic county. Democrat Nelson lost to Republican Scott by just over 10,000 votes. 

Antonacci, the new interim supervisor, is expected to clean house at the Broward Elections Office. He’ll serve in his appointed role until a successor is elected in November 2020. 

“I know that Pete will be solely focused on running free and fair elections, will not be running for election and will bring order and integrity back to this office,” Scott added.

Snipes was appointed to the Elections Supervisors job in 2003 and subsequently reelected. She leaves office with a $130,000 annual pension.  

David Bishop is a native Floridian, husband and father. During his 30 year career, David has been a journalist, political operative and communications consultant.