With all the ugliness of the midterms – particularly in Florida – behind us, I bet you thought you’d heard the last of Broward County elections supervisor Brenda Snipes, right? You may recall that after the botched recounts in her county, Snipes resigned her position when the process ended, but it was to take effect in January. That wasn’t soon enough for Governor Rick Scott, who turned around and suspended her from the position. Even that didn’t remove her entirely from the news cycle, as questions were raised regarding the more than $130K in annual pension payments she would be receiving after repeatedly botching her job.
Well, get ready for Act Two of this production. All those previous maneuvers have gone out the window because Snipes has announced that she’s rescinding her resignation. Wait.. can you do that? (Washington Times)
Gov. Rick Scott late Friday suspended embattled Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes even though Snipes had already agreed to step down from her post in early January. Scott replaced Snipes with his former general counsel even though Peter Antonacci has no elections experience.
Snipes responded by rescinding her previous resignation – and will now be “fighting this to the very end,” her attorney said during a Saturday news conference.
“We believe these actions are malicious,” said Burnadette Norris-Weeks, who said that Broward County voters should be concerned about what Scott is trying to do in the Democratic stronghold by putting in an ally who could oversee the office into the 2020 elections.
Well, apparently you can do that. Technically, Snipes is still not out of office, though someone has already been appointed to replace her. Florida law requires the state senate to either remove her from office or reinstate her following a suspension by the Governor. But the Republicans control the state senate by a margin of 22-16, so she might wind up out the door anyway.
I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate here for a moment and concede that Snipes has a point, at least on the replacement process. It seems clear that the history of election debacles in Broward County justifies removing her from office sooner rather than later. But Governor Scott has seriously erred in appointing Peter Antonacci in her stead. Let’s take off our partisan hats for a moment and consider what he’s doing.
In terms of getting the job done in overseeing elections, Snipes was being removed for gross incompetence. Fair enough. But why would you replace her with an attorney who has absolutely zero experience in overseeing elections? Aren’t you just inviting more of the same trouble down the line?
The second aspect of Snipes’ poor performance was the perception that almost all of the “errors” in Broward County fell to the benefit of Democrats. Despite being appointed by Jeb Bush, Snipes is a Democrat, has run for re-election as a Democrat and been repeatedly sent back to office in a Democrat majority county. Her incoming replacement will be seen as being just as partisan, only in the other direction. His history as being essentially an attorney for the Florida Republican Party and a fixer for Rick Scott doesn’t precisely speak to a nonpartisan agenda.
It just seems as if there’s a better way to handle this. Let the state senate remove Snipes, but withdraw the appointment of Antonacci and put in someone with experience running elections and less of a partisan profile from either party.