“Great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice,” Karl Marx (I know, I know) wrote in 1852, “the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” Marx may have been all wet on everything else, but he pretty much nailed Broward County and Florida elections. Jazz has already noted the history of lawlessness in both Broward and Palm Beach counties in past elections, but Brenda Snipes outdid herself yesterday. According to the Miami Herald, Snipes took a dozen or more rejected ballots and mixed them into valid ballots, making it impossible to distinguish between them.
The Herald’s headline writer calls this a “whoops”:
This is not a whoops — it’s perhaps generous to even call it a mistake, as Alex Harris does in the article:
Broward’s elections supervisor accidentally mixed more than a dozen rejected ballots with nearly 200 valid ones, a circumstance that is unlikely to help Brenda Snipes push back against Republican allegations of incompetence.
The mistake — for which no one had a solution Friday night — was discovered after Snipes agreed to present 205 provisional ballots to the Broward County canvassing board for inspection. She had initially intended to handle the ballots administratively, but agreed to present them to the canvassing board after Republican attorneys objected. …
On Election Day, Broward election staffers set those 205 votes aside, removed the anonymous ballots from their signed envelopes and counted them up in a voting machine that didn’t add those numbers to the final vote count. The elections department didn’t originally intend to have the canvassing board review those votes, but after uproar from lawyers for the Republican Party, the office handed them over to the board, which usually reviews ballots still in the envelopes.
On Friday, the three-person canvassing board — on which Snipes usually sits — found about 20 of those 205 votes had mismatched signatures and declared them illegal. That means there are at least 20 illegal votes mixed into an anonymous pile of 205, all sitting in a machine that counted them but did not add them to the final count.
“The ballots cannot be identified,” Snipes confirmed when a lawyer for the Republican Party asked.
How tough was it to set aside the 20 invalid ballots in a manner where they weren’t confused with the rest? It would only take a little physical separation to keep the two sets separate. Even a child could manage that task.
At best this is rank incompetence. At worst, it looks like an attempt to evade the signature requirements that prevent voter fraud from impacting election results. The problem with chalking it up to incompetence in Broward is that Broward’s track record of “mistakes” in elections are so aggressively incompetent — and all in the same direction. Put that together with Snipes’ refusal to comply with court orders demanding that she follow Florida election law and report outstanding ballot totals, and it doesn’t look like incompetence at all. It looks like deliberate corruption.
The Miami Herald apparently thinks this is just a humorous pratfall in Broward, following the Marxian formula in history repeating itself as farce. Well, the term farce might apply more broadly than the Herald’s editors might imagine.
As of 11 am ET this morning, the gaps in the two Florida races look stable. Ron DeSantis still leads by 36,000 votes in the gubernatorial race, and Rick Scott’s lead in the Senate race is just under 15,000 votes. Those leads are far too large to get reversed in a recount, unless Brenda Snipes gets put in charge of it — and the Miami Herald covers it.