Disgraced Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes submitted her resignation on November 18, stating that the effective date would be January 4th. Upon hearing that Florida Governor and Senator-elect Rick Scott had suspended her via executive order on Friday, citing widespread issues with voting in Broward County, and would replace her with his former general counsel, Peter Antonacci, she had a change of heart. She has now rescinded her resignation and says she will fight the suspension.
Her replacement will serve out her current term which ends in November 2020 when a new Elections Supervisor will be elected. The appointment of Antonacci would help to prevent a repeat of the election improprieties for which Broward County is now famous, from happening in the critical 2020 presidential election.
In his announcement of the suspension, Scott said he “suspended Snipes for misfeasance, incompetence and neglect of duty. 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.” He added that Antonacci would “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.”
During a Saturday press conference, Snipes attorney, Burnadette Norris-Weeks, slammed Governor Scott’s decision to appoint a Republican ally to supervise the office through the 2020 election in such a Democratic stronghold. She said “We believe these actions are malicious, and we vow to fight this until the very end. The governor is holding Snipes to a different standard than other elections supervisors in Florida, as if there can never be a mistake made.” She added that the suspension was mean-spirited, an attempt to take Snipes’ pension, and based on false or unfair allegations.
Contrary to her attorney’s remarks, Snipes has a history of gross incompetence. In 2016, Snipes destroyed 6,000 ballots a judge had ordered the office to retain. Among other issues, Snipes misplaced 2,000 ballots during the recent senate race recount. She opened 500 provisional ballots before it was determined if they were valid or not. The list is long. Her attorney’s statement “as if there can never be a mistake made” is at best, an understatement and at worst, a lie.
Snipes’ annual salary is $178,865. Upon retirement, she is expecting to receive an annual pension of $71,000. It’s unclear if Scott’s decision to suspend Snipes would prevent her from receiving that pension.