The words “Florida” and “recount” have been repeatedly paired together for the wrong reasons over the past two decades. ⠀⠀
The director of elections in Broward County, Brenda Snipes, said Tuesday that her division will finish the legally mandated machine recount by the deadline of Thursday afternoon, but added that she might retire after this election. Reportedly fed up with the criticism of her job performance, Snipes implied racism is partly to blame.
“We will complete the recount … I think we’re on a good schedule and we will finish before the deadline on Thursday,” Brenda Snipes told reporters. Officials work together in the media room to recount the 715,000 votes determining the results of the election that closed a week ago.
Races for governor, U.S. senator and agricultural commissioner in Florida are so close that the state law mandated a recount for all. If any race is within a margin of 0.25 percent after the machine recount, the state will move to a hand recount of the ballots.
Snipes has been found at fault in a number of mishandling disputes in elections over the past few years, angering both Republicans and Democrats within the state. Though Snipes is a Democrat, she was appointed by then-Gov. Jeb Bush in 2003 shortly after her predecessor was removed over the mishandling scandal of the 2000 presidential election. Snipes has been reelected four times since then.
However, Bush is now criticizing Snipes as well, tweeting Monday that she “should be removed from her office following the recounts.”
“There is no question that Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes failed to comply with Florida law on multiple counts, undermining Floridians’ confidence in our electoral process,” Bush tweeted.
Snipes pinpoints race as a major issue claiming that when Bush appointed her, it was after “the removal of another black woman in this office.”
“I don’t know why we get a bigger spotlight than some. I have worked for 15 years tirelessly for the voters of Broward County, and I will continue to do this until my time is up,” she said.
Snipes says that it is “sort of hard to rule out race,” but added, “I won’t say, ‘Oh, I’m black woman and that’s why.’ I’m not saying that.”
However, Democrats are upset too. Media outlets have reported numerous screw-ups in ballot design and inaccurate record-keeping, leading Democrats to look guilty or incapable- neither are politically helpful.
“I suspect she won’t be here for long … whether she is suspended from office, she leaves office early or she’s voted out,” state Rep. Jared Moskowitz says.
And Snipes may agree. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
“It is time to move on, to let someone else … I think I have served the purpose that I came here for, which was to provide a credible election,” she said. “I haven’t finalized that. I’ll just check with my family — they’ll tell me what I’m doing.”
During the recount, Snipes was found responsible for submitting 22 rejected ballots out of 205, fueling the allegations.
Two state agencies, both run by Republicans, have found no evidence of voter fraud or illegal activities.
It didn’t take Trump long to tweet about the recount, accusing Snipes of finding votes and committing fraud.
“When will Bill Nelson concede in Florida?” Trump tweeted. “The characters running Broward and Palm Beach voting will not be able to ‘find’ enough votes, too much spotlight on them now!” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Trump also added Snipes has “had a horrible history.” He then falsely claimed that “all of the sudden they’re finding votes out of nowhere,” although any adjustments to the preliminary count reflect votes being newly counted, not newly discovered.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Gov. Rick Scott, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate also accused Snipes of committing illegal crimes. Scott leads Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson by 0.12 percent and says he’s sure fraud is taking place.
Trump is heavily involved in Florida’s municipal politics, as he campaigned aggressively in the state. He has been open about Florida being key to re-election.
Snipes, when asked about fraud comments said Tuesday, “I don’t have a treasure trove to go out digging on the beach somewhere to find any votes.”