District 2 the latest fiasco for poorly run Broward SOE

I have  lots of gripes with the Broward Supervisor of Elections office. Unlike her counterparts in Palm Beach, Orange, Hillsborough, Leon and Miami-Dade, Broward SOE Dr. Brenda Snipes has done little to educate voters about upcoming elections and to make voting more accessible to the masses. Broward County is the best performing Democratic urban county in the southeastern United States, yet time and again voter turnout is among the lowest in the state. Traveling the state as I do, I’ve seen time and again the types of voter outreach programs offered in other counties absent in Broward County. The Broward SOE website is arguably the worst of any major urban county in the state. For years, I have been frustrated that Dr. Snipes calls herself a Democrat because she has done little to help empower citizens. But that of course is her business, her philosophy- the electorate in Broward County has kept Dr. Snipes in office for over a decade and  thus seem to be satisfied with her unwillingness to run an aggressive outreach or voter education effort.

Dr. Snipes replaced the controversial Miriam Oliphant, who from my vantage point made an effort to engage voters and reach new citizens. However, Ms. Oliphant was caught up in scandal on Primary Day 2002 (when several ballots went missing and were later found in a file cabinet) and was removed from office by Governor Bush in 2003. Dr. Snipes was appointed by Governor Bush to replace her and has been reelected three times. It is perhaps insignificant but worth noting that both Oliphant and Dr. Snipes are African-American.

But perhaps the biggest  strike against Dr. Snipes has been registered this year in the debacle surrounding the District 2 County Commission race. The local campaign which was initially one of the highest profile August races in Florida’s second most-populated county has quick descended into a farce thanks largely to the SOE’s office lack of preparedness around the matter.

In a nutshell the eligibility over the write-in candidate and whether the race was simply a Democratic Primary or a General Election caused confusion. In fairness to Dr. Snipes, write-in candidacies have been abused routinely since 2002 when the current laws governing primary elections were first implemented. The loopholes around write-ins were quickly exploited by major party candidates and served to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Florida voters from choosing their county and state officials.

This all having been said, Dr. Snipes inability to prepare properly for the situation around the District 2 election and the invalidating of the primary election in August now followed by the race being taken off the November ballot is costing Broward taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and preventing District 2 residents (which include myself) from our proper representation on the Commission. An elections office has to be prepared for these sorts of circumstances. The lawsuit and controversy over  the District 2 race and a write-in candidate is not unprecedented in the post-2002 history of the state. But Broward’s SOE was unprepared for it, similarly to how more election day snafus and counting issues routinely seem to take place in Broward than any other major urban country in the state. The counting debacles and other errors during Dr. Snipes tenure were in many cases avoidable with better staff and more prepared poll workers.

Having an avoidable Special Election in District 2 is unacceptable. But given how poorly this situation has been handled, the bungling of the election means the scheduling of an expensive one-off Special Election was probably inevitable.

Let us hope this debacle wakes the Broward SOE office up and we can avoid such problems in the future.

5 comments

  1. Broward Voter · ·

    Thank you! Snipes office is ineffective and slow to respond to inquiries. You didn’t even mention the failure of the office to send new registration cards to voters after the redistricting of the precincts and the problems that caused. Unacceptable! She should resign.

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  2. OrlandoChris · ·

    I have received leaked information on the Florida Governor’s race of a con the Republicans are pulling. Information came in Sept. 18th 2014. Their plan was to have both candidates to choose from be one of their own, so either way they win. I’m sorry folks, but Crist is not a Democrat. He is a infiltrator to the Democrat party, a wolf in sheep clothing if you will. There is not much time left before the election, so we need to spread the information quickly, so we don’t fall for the scam. Nan Rich should have been the Democrat candidate, we all know that, but the Republicans made sure that didn’t happen. Now they have this all in place, there is only one option we have to avoid being duped. We don’t want Scott to win and we don’t want to be fooled by the scheme they are pulling either. Crist is a Republican in disguise. At this point, the only option is voting for Adrian Wyllie. At least he will prevent the Republicans passing bills by veto. He will be the ‘preventer’ Governor, until the next election. If we don’t pull together on this, we will be either stuck with Scott or the infiltrator Crist and have no hope until the next election. Don’t let this go down. Yes, Wyllie may not be the best choice for the Democrat party, but he is close enough and it would be a lot better than the Republican Scott or the Republican Crist. Of course, decide for yourself, but take heed to the warning. Luckily this information came out in time to stop their plan, but we need to react or be doomed.

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    1. Richard Block · ·

      Were is your leaked information from? Voting for Wyllie will help Scott win. Vote for Crist. He maybe a new Democrat, but he is a Democrat.

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  3. Keep Dreamin · ·

    She’s the quest SOE in the state. But the entitled political class and the local Democratic Party which is scared of offending African-American leaders will never do anything about her.

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  4. […] the District 2 County Commission race now tentatively set for a December primary after appearing wrongly on the August primary ballot, the SOE’s procedures and policies have […]

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