Are Florida’s election officials merely incompetent, or is there a sinister plot afoot to throw the election results towards Democrats?
Three days after election night, when Gov. Rick Scott delivered a victory speech and held a comfortable margin of votes against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, loads of ballots favoring the Democratic candidate mysteriously turned up in Palm Beach and Broward counties — where one official has a history of violating election laws.
State law requires that all early and by-mail votes be tabulated within 30 minutes of the polls closing, but three days later, Broward County Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes still refuses to specify how many people voted, how many ballots have been tabulated, and how many are left to count.
Since Tuesday, 80,000 new votes have mysteriously turned up in Broward County and another 15,000 in Palm Beach County. These newly discovered ballots have been “breaking almost 3-to-1 in favor of Democrats,” narrowing the margin between these two candidates to likely force a recount after Saturday’s noon deadline requiring all counties to turn over election results to the state Division of Elections.
Snipes’s History Of Incompetence and Lawbreaking
Snipes is no stranger to controversy. Her office has broken the law and repeatedly botched election counting. In 2016 a judge ruled that her office had violated federal and state laws by destroying ballots too quickly after a congressional race.
Then-Democratic congressional candidate Tim Canova asked to see the paper ballots to examine voter irregularities in his failed bid to unseat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Snipes ignored his request and destroyed the ballots months later, even signing a certificate saying there was no ongoing legal challenge involving the ballots.
Why would she sign such a certificate when she knew there was a pending legal challenge? Was it to cover something up, or was it because she simply didn’t care about telling the truth and adhering to the law? Either answer is equally troubling, as one might hope the person in charge of overseeing the integrity of elections would be honest and forthcoming, or at a minimum follow the rules.
In 2003, about 58,000 ballots were reported missing and in 2004, her office was counting votes days after the election took place. In 2006, her office was still counting ballots long after other counties had submitted their results, due to the possibility that ballots were still left in the machines.
Local reporters have asked her repeatedly what has been taking so long to count the votes, and have gotten no clear answers. Jeff Weisner, an investigative reporter for ABC affiliate Local 10 News, confronted Snipes on camera about what is taking so long to tabulate vote counts, to which she explained that other “counties didn’t have 600,000 votes out there.”
“Well, Miami-Dade did,” Weinsier said.
“Well, have you been inside my — never mind, let me go check. I’ll check,” Snipes said.
Why is she so flippant about flouting Florida’s election laws? With a U.S. Senate race on the line, one might think this deserves a somewhat believable explanation. Instead she’s offered flimsy excuses or nothing.
Republicans Are Rightly Worried Election Integrity Is Shot
On Thursday night, Scott filed a lawsuit against Broward and Palm Beach counties for their refusal to be transparent. Following Scott’s lawsuit, Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed it will launch investigations into these counties and their respective supervisors, The Hill reported.
At a court hearing on Friday morning in Palm Beach County, Judge Krista Marx ordered that “any ballot that the supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher or her staff throws out will need to go in front of the canvassing board,” NBC affiliate WPTV reported. “Marx also ordered Bucher to provide a list by 4 p.m. of everyone who voted by provisional ballot.”
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has been on a tweet storm decrying a lack of transparency from Broward County officials.
Early Voting in #BrowardCounty ended 108 hours ago. Every other county,including neighboring Miami-Dade (which had 100k more votes cast) was able to canvass,tabulate & report to state by deadline. But #Broward still hasn’t finished & won’t disclose how many ballots are left.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 9, 2018
The last thing our already dangerously divided nation needs is an important election 1/2 our people believe was rigged by the other 1/2
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 9, 2018
They have good reason to worry, as the newly discovered ballots have already tipped the scales in favor of Democrat Nikki Fried over Rep. Matt Caldwell by 2,841 votes in the Florida agriculture commissioner race.
Snipe’s office broke the law by failing to give a vote count on time. And the validity of the newly discovered ballots heavily favoring Democrats should be questioned.
Democrats Confident Broward County Will Tip Them a Win
In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, one of Nelson’s attorneys said he’s confident the untabulated votes that mysteriously keep turning up without explanation will carry Democrats to victory.
‘We believe at the end of the day, Sen. Nelson is going to be declared the winner and return to the U.S. Senate,’ said Marc Elias, a recount attorney hired by the Nelson campaign, in a conference call.
Elias pointed to significant numbers of ballots not yet tabulated in Broward, where even Snipes said Wednesday night, ‘I can’t give you an exact number. I’m not sure. I’m really not sure.’
Already, however, national media outlets are working to discredit election integrity fears. NPR ran a story with the following headline: “As Florida Races Narrow, Trump And Scott Spread Claims Of Fraud Without Evidence.” This was The Washington Post’s headline: “After Trump and Scott cry ‘fraud,’ critics pounce on Broward County’s troubled election history.”
Why are Democrats so sure these missing ballots will hold the key to victory? Why are members of the news media attempting to minimize legitimate concerns about the validity of the election results?
Democrats frequently poo poo concerns of election integrity, oppose voter ID laws, push for former felons to regain the right to vote, and dismiss reports of illegal immigrants and dead people casting ballots. It’s no surprise the party whose only concern about ballot integrity comes when the Constitution gets in the way of electoral victory is nonchalant about what’s happening in Florida. The murkier the electoral process is, the more the Democratic Party wins.