Broward County supervisor of elections resigns

Brenda Snipes has submitted her resignation as the supervisor of elections for Broward County, Florida, after the completion of a recount that brought renewed scrutiny of her tenure.

“Although I have enjoyed this work tremendously over these many election cycles, both large and small, I am ready to pass the torch,” Snipes wrote Sunday in her resignation letter to Gov. Rick Scott, which was obtained by CNN. She requested in the letter that her resignation be effective January 4, 2019.

The Sun-Sentinel first reported the news of Snipes’ resignation.

Snipes, a Democrat, was the subject of widespread condemnation from Republicans during Florida’s statewide recount.

Republicans used Snipes, who oversaw the at times hapless vote counting effort in Broward County, as a foil during the recount, seizing on mistakes made in her office to suggest that fraud was being committed, although no evidence of fraud was ever produced. Snipes dismissed the criticism as politically motivated, and expressed her frustration during the recount.

“I can’t wait for this to be over,” she told CNN last week.

Florida’s recount ended on Sunday, when all of the state’s 67 counties — including Broward — submitted their final vote totals to the secretary of state.

During the recount, Snipes publicly toyed with the idea of stepping down.

“It is time to move on, to let someone else (do the job),” Snipes said. When a reporter asked whether she would resign, the election official backed off slightly.

“Well, I haven’t finalized that. I’ll just check with my family. They’ll tell me what I’m doing,” she said.

It now appears that Snipes has finalized her decision.

One reason the accusations of Republicans stuck is because Snipes has a history of legal issues during her time as the head of elections for the county.

A Florida judge ruled that Snipes violated state and federal laws when she destroyed ballots too soon after the 2016 election, despite one of the Democratic candidates in a primary race taking her to court to preserve the ballots and a federal requirement that mandates ballots be kept for 22 months after an election.

She was also party to a lawsuit in 2016 over a medical marijuana amendment that was missing from some absentee ballots and another suit decided in 2018 regarding when and how her staff could open absentee ballots.

The lawsuits were the backbone of attacks against Snipes, whom Republicans cast as a scandal-plagued liberal who was trying to tip the election in the favor of Democrats.

Snipes was appointed to her position in 2003 by then-Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, after he removed her predecessor, Miriam Oliphant, for a series of missteps. Snipes went on to win re-election four times, most recently in 2016.

Democrats tried to use Snipes’ appointment by Bush as a defense against Republican criticism, but it did little to blunt the attacks.

Gov. Rick Scott, the Republican Senate candidate, put Snipes squarely at the center of his recount effort, suing her shortly before the recount began, and calling her out by name — along with Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher — during a televised statement on the steps of the governor’s mansion.

And during the recount, Bush called for Snipes to be removed from office once the tallying was completed.

“There is no question that Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes failed to comply with Florida law on multiple counts, undermining Floridians’ confidence in our electoral process,” Bush wrote on Twitter last Monday. “Supervisor Snipes should be removed from her office following the recounts.”