A major scandal is brewing in Florida, and it could impact who holds power in the state for years to come.
Two key races from the November 6th election are still up in the air in the Sunshine State, with both the governor and senate races too close to call. It may come down to manually recounting ballots … but the person responsible for overseeing Broward County elections was just caught doing something shocking.
That county, which includes the city of Fort Lauderdale, makes its population of nearly 2 million a significant part of every election. But a Broward County official is now accused of throwing a wrench in the recount by mixing ineligible, rejected ballots into valid vote counts.
According to The Miami Herald, Broward County Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes placed around 200 provisional ballots that shouldn’t be counted into the mix with real votes. Whether this was a mistake or intentional is unclear, but many Republicans are charging that she’s incompetent and politically biased.
The key thing to remember is that a ballot isn’t automatically a valid vote. If it is discovered that a person voted twice or doesn’t live in the state, for example, this is obviously illegal and would render their ballots unacceptable.
“On Election Day, Broward County collected more than 600 provisional ballots. The vast majority were declared invalid by the county’s canvassing board judges for reasons ranging from registering to vote too late to previously voting to voting at the wrong precinct,” continued The Herald.
When concerned observers started asking questions about those hundreds of previously-rejected ballots, they found some alarming facts.
“After presenting for inspection 205 provisional ballots to the Broward County canvassing board, it was discovered that 20 ballots with mismatched signatures that had already been deemed invalid and were illegal votes were mixed in with valid ballots,” explained The Blaze.
“They were integrated into a stack of legal ballots awaiting being added to the vote totals in the tight race,” the outlet said. In order words, Brenda Snipes apparently either incompetently or maliciously added invalid ballots to the pile while hoping that nobody would notice.
Here’s the major problem: Nobody knows for sure how many invalid ballots are now mixed in with the real votes, because it was done in a way that cannot be reversed.
“The ballots cannot be identified,” Snipes told Republican attorneys when they raised questions.
Media outlets including The Miami Herald rushed to defend Snipes and imply that it was just a minor, honest mistake. “Whoops! Brenda Snipes’ office mixed bad provisional ballots with good ones,” that paper’s headline declared, as if meddling with major elections was just an innocent case of spilled milk.
Republicans, however, aren’t buying it. “Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We are watching closely!” President Trump posted to Twitter on Saturday afternoon.
Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We are watching closely!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018
Florida Republicans turned to the courts, which quickly blew the whistle on what was happening.
“A judge ordered Broward County Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes to allow immediate inspection of voter records during an emergency hearing Friday,” reported WPLG News.
In simple terms, it’s a mess. In a democratic republic, counting the people’s votes is important — but so is ensuring that corrupt officials don’t tip the scales and invalidate authentic ballots.
Flooding a recount with unlawful votes is not much different than sending ineligible foreigners to skew an election — and if liberals truly care about election meddling as they claim, they need to take this seriously.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the city of Miami is in Broward County. We apologize to our readers for this error.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.