The question isn’t so much whether Brenda Snipes will be out of a job as when — and how. Politico’s Marc Caputo reports that the Broward County elections supervisor will likely get suspended by either current governor Rick Scott or incoming governor Ron DeSantis as soon as the recount concludes. Even Florida Democrats want to see her gone now — at least some of them:
She’s losing support from fellow Democrats and faces the increasing likelihood of an embarrassing suspension from office at the hands of either Gov. Rick Scott or his likely successor, Ron DeSantis.
Suspending Snipes from office would put a final exclamation point on one of the most contested midterms in recent Florida history, which has resulted in three statewide recounts — for U.S. Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner — as well as recounts in three local legislative races. Removal proceedings in the GOP-led Florida Senate could also cause a possible rift among Florida state Senate Democrats if the black caucus rallies around Snipes in the same way it did around her predecessor, who was also African-American, more than a decade ago. …
If Snipes is suspended by the governor, incoming Florida state Senate President Bill Galvano said it’s time to have his chamber investigate and prepare to strike the final blow by removing her from office — just as the chamber did to her predecessor, Miriam Oliphant, for mismanaging the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary.
“What she’s demonstrated over the years is a series of mistakes that rise above the level of negligence and into incompetence,” Galvano said. “We can’t continue to keep ignoring this and every option should be on the table.”
Scott isn’t waiting around until a propitious moment for a suspension comes along. Last night, the outgoing governor and presumed winner of the US Senate seat filed lawsuits against Broward County demanding that the machines be impounded and controlled by law enforcement. Scott also wants some votes taken off the tote board:
The Scott for Florida campaign team filed complaints Sunday requesting voting machines, ballots and tallying devices be impounded and secured when not in use until the conclusion of Broward County’s election recounts.
The complaints request all voting devices be secured by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
Another complaint requests the ballots allegedly counted illegally by the Broward County Canvassing Board after Saturday’s noon deadline to be omitted from the official returns.
“The Broward and Palm Beach County Supervisors of Elections has already demonstrated a blatant disregard for Florida’s elections laws,” said Chris Hartline, spokesperson for Scott for Florida, “making it more important than ever that we continue to do everything possible to prevent fraud and ensure this recount is operated responsibly. Senator-Elect Rick Scott will continue to fight to protect the will of Florida voters.”
Scott’s moves come amid mounting criticism across the aisle over Snipe’s work and her defiance of court orders this past week. A ballot design issue might end up putting both parties on the same side. Democrats allege that the ballot — which Snipes approved — put the Senate race in an awkward position on the ballot, which caused casual voters to miss it entirely. In Broward, the Senate race got the fewest votes of any statewide race, the first time that has ever happened in Florida, and Democrats are steamed about the outcome.
Not too many are talking about it publicly, but one Broward state representative vented his frustration:
“If what is being reported is true, the Senate is going to have to take some drastic action,” said state Sen. Kevin Rader, a Democrat whose district includes part of Broward County. Rader acknowledged that Snipes is a problem for Democrats statewide because Broward is the second-largest county and is a liberal bastion.
“We’re talking about Democratic votes here; this is a huge Democratic count,” he said. “So from a partisan standpoint, it’s like, ‘Are you kidding me?’”
Now that the balloting has closed down, though, the recounts will not likely change much. Even if the undervotes from the poor ballot design had been cast, Caputo notes, Scott would still lead by 2600 or more votes — well above the range in which recounts change outcomes. With leads of 12,000+ in the Senate race and 33,000+ in the gubernatorial race, Harry Enten tells CNN this morning, the outcomes should be exactly what they are now. As long as Brenda Snipes isn’t in charge of them, of course.
.@ForecasterEnten: The gubernatorial and Senate races currently being recounted in Florida may seem tight. They are not actually that tight by vote count.
— New Day (@NewDay) November 12, 2018
Addendum: Just how tough is it to move the needle in recounts? My 2009 in-depth report on the 2008 Minnesota recount makes it pretty plain — and has a lesson for Republican candidates, too. Fight.