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Brenda Snipes rescinds resignation as Broward County elections chief

December 02,2018 19:14

Brenda Snipes has rescinded her resignation as Broward County elections supervisor, vowing to fight the immediate suspension slapped on her by outgoing Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott for alleged misconduct. Snipes' change of heart was announced ...


Brenda Snipes has rescinded her resignation as Broward County elections supervisor, vowing to fight the immediate suspension slapped on her by outgoing Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott for alleged misconduct.
Snipes' change of heart was announced by Burnadette Norris-Weeks, counsel to the Broward County supervisor of elections' office, on Saturday, following Scott's signing of an executive order Friday to replace Snipes, a Democrat, with Republican Peter Antonacci, Scott's former general counsel.
Scott, who is set to join Congress in the new year as the next senator from Florida, cited complaints against Snipes for “misfeasance, incompetence and neglect of duty." It is unclear how the order will affect the $71,000 a year pension Snipes was due to receive when she stepped down from the post.
“We will be fighting this,” Norris-Weeks told reporters during a press conference Saturday, according to the Miami Herald. “In [addition] to that, Dr. Snipes hereby rescinds her resignation which would have been effective on the 4th of January. She rescinds that resignation as we go forward and fight these ... allegations that are frivolous.”
“The supervisor is being held to a standard that no other supervisor has been held to in the state of Florida,” Norris-Weeks said. “We are disheartened by the governor’s actions. We believe it is a malicious action that should not have happened.”
On Saturday, Snipes defended her 15-year tenure as elections chief of the the heavily Democratic county, a position she took in 2003 after being appointed by Republican then-Gov. Jeb Bush after her predecessor, Miriam Oliphant, also a black Democratic woman, was suspended for ineptitude. Antonacci, now president and CEO of the state’s economic development agency Enterprise Florida, represented Bush during the 2004 Senate hearings against Oliphant, the Sun-Sentinel reported. Snipes, 75, was subsequently re-elected in 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016.
“We follow all statutes that are set forward in the state, we take the appropriate kind of training, we have invested in a lot of equipment,” Snipes said Saturday, according to the Miami Herald. “But there are issues that need to be dealt with in terms of structure — that can be legal structure, it can be the physical structure that we work in.”
Snipes submitted her resignation in November shortly after Florida completed its manual recount for the state's Senate, gubernatorial, and agricultural commissioner races. The resignation was set to take effect in January.
Scott and the National Republican Senatorial Committee had successfully sued Snipes while the election results were still uncertain for failing to release information about the number of votes cast and how many ballots had yet to be counted in her county. But the Florida Department of Elections, run by Scott-appointed Secretary of State Ken Detzner, found no evidence of criminal activity in the management of the county's elections after it was asked to investigate the controversy.
Under Snipes' watch this year, Broward County misplaced 2,000 votes during the mandated hand statewide recount period, mixed irregular ballots with valid ones, and missed a deadline by two minutes to disclose the machine recount figures. Previously, she been accused of implementing improper procedures, including destroying votes and publishing results too early.
Snipes' rescission indicates her intention to stay on until the official end of her term in November 2020. According to Florida's Constitution, the state's Senate has three months to begin removal proceedings against her.

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