Leave it to Florida – the land of the hanging chad – to muck up their 2018 midterm election. There were delays counting votes for governor, U.S. Senate, and Commissioner of Agriculture – a big deal in the Orange Juice State.
In 2000, US News reported that “the outcome of the U.S. presidential race plunged into uncertainty.” For the next 36 days – over a month – the presidential winner was undetermined: Bush and Gore were running neck-and-neck with a “razor-thin margin, complicated by voting difficulties in Florida…”
The scandal produced 47 lawsuits after Gore conceded the election to his rival Bush at 3am on November 8, 2000. At issue was “a punch-card ballot with a format that was easily misread resulted in many disqualified votes” – the infamous hanging chad.
Two days after the recent 2018 midterm election, south Florida’s Broward County was still counting votes to decide top races.
President Donald Trump tweeted that the confusion was “another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach.” Trump should know. He’s a Florida voter. His estate Mar a Lago is located in West Palm Beach, north of Broward County, in Palm Beach County.
In the spotlight is Dr. Brenda Snipes, the Broward Supervisor of Elections since 2003 who earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.
Dr. Snipes has a spotty political reputation:
“Long lines and vote counts that continued long after polls closed marred elections in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2012, 2016 and, of course, this year.”
Here are some of the details:
- A court ruled she had broken election law when she destroyed ballots from the 2016 election 12 months after it, instead of the 22 months required by federal law.
- A medical marijuana amendment was left off some ballots in 2016.
- Election results in the 2016 primary were posted on the elections office’s website before polls closed, another violation of election law.
- In 2012, almost 1,000 uncounted ballots were discovered a week after the election
- In 2004, some 58,000 mail-in ballots were not delivered to voters, leaving election officials to scramble to send new ones.
So it wasn’t that surprising that, with final votes still being counted and recounted, on the Friday after the Tuesday, November 6, 2018, election, tempers flared in Snipes’ direction as “dozens of protesters stormed Broward County’s elections office, directing a chant of ‘lock her up'”
But wait, there’s more.
Sunday night, November 11, 2018, an Avis employee at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport found a big grey plastic bin labeled “PROVISIONAL BALLOTS” in the trunk of a returned rental. Republican State Committeeman (since August 2016) Richard DeNapoli managed to capture images of the box, sitting behind the plate glass window of an airport office, on a drive-by video he took.
A tweet from on-the-scene investigator Laura Loomer said the “bomb squad shut down the airport, but they never reported on the ballot box!”
The Broward Sherrif’s Office (BSO) tweeted, Shortly afterward, BSO sent this tweet:
“The roadways into #FLL [Ft. Lauderdale Airport] are currently closed due to police activity.”
Loomer further described the arrival of a Broward Republican State Committeeman before police blocked off the airport entrance.
The last driver of the rental car was a Broward County employee. When this writer worked as a vote center supervisor in Colorado, the County instructed all judges responsible for returning supplies to do so at the central office – not the airport.
Perhaps the unnamed Broward County employee needed to return a rental car and just forgot that s/he had a trunkload of time-critical legal documents?
It is probable that a box so labeled originally contained blank Provisional Ballots which are used when a voter’s residency is in question or upon the voter’s request. In fact, according to The New York Times, the “mystery box…contained not ballots but supplies — pens, envelopes, signs advising people to ‘Vote Here.'”
How reassuring. NOT. That box had no business being at any airport. How could an election official space out something that important?
Questionable voter practices and out-and-out voter fraud are so rife throughout Florida that these tweeted responses to the provisional ballot box discovery were not that surprising – and very humorous:
“They just flew in more ‘Provisional’ ballots from Zimbabwe.”
And here’s one for the Baby Boomers:
“If you play Revolution #9 from the Beatles White Album backward, it gives you the secret location of more provisional ballots.”
This comment evokes quite a flash from the past, implying law enforcement bungling:
“Sheriff ‘Runaway’ Israel is trying to Barney Fife this up.”
But this comment expresses a view shared by many conservatives who are tired of the extreme left’s hate and hysteria over losing the 2016 presidential election:
“They are trying hard to meddle with the elections by creasting fake events to draw attention away from the huge corruption deal of these Dems. All they care is to be in power and will do anything to get to it.”
The Fort Lauderdale airport wasn’t the only place where big plastic boxes labeled “PROVISIONAL BALLOTS” showed up after the midterm election, according to the Miami Herald:
“First it was at an elementary school in Miramar, two days after the election. Then on Saturday, it was at a community center in Tamarac. The Broward Sheriff’s Office responded and notified the elections office.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is a long-time opponent of the office of the Broward Elections Office. He allowed for the possiblity that the mystery boxes contained innocent office supplies but noted:
“At a minimum, it undermines public trust in the election & creates opportunity for mischief.”
President Trump said Friday, November 9, 2018, about Snipes:
“She has had a horrible history … and all of a sudden they’re finding votes out of nowhere.”
Prospective Senator-elect Rick Scott told Fox News:
“They found 78,000 new votes since Election Day, two days ago, in Broward County, and 15,000 more votes in Palm Beach, we don’t know how many more votes that they are going to come up with, but it sure appears that they are going to find as many votes as they can to win the election. So, I have asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to do an investigation. We filed a lawsuit, we are going to fight this, and we are going to win.”
Who knew democracy would be this hard?