It seems Broward Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes cannot get through a single election cycle without some degree of controversy. As usual Broward took longer to mail absentee ballots than most of Florida’s counties (and no doubt will be the last to fully process the results from VBM on Election Day) but once people opened the absentee ballot they got a big surprise.
The format of the ballot is reminiscent that of the infamous “butterfly ballot” in Palm Beach something I personally had much experience with. Unlike the “butterfly ballot” however, this effort by Dr, Snipes office was not designed to offer a bigger typeface or font in order assist voters in reading the ballot. Instead it merely appears to be another bureaucratic snafu from an office that has become infamous for such problems. The idea behind this ballot was to cram enough information onto page 2 with a smaller typeface which could potentially create serious voter confusion.
As the graphic to the right demonstrates it will be easy for voters to make a mistake on the ballot initiatives since the re-authorization of the Children’s Services Council (CSC) falls right below Amendment 3 which activists in Broward as well as TFS are encouraging a “no” vote on. The CSC re-authorization which we support is on this page and not on the page which follows with all of the other local questions. Given the amount of remaining space on page 3 of the ballot, the decision of the SOE to cram the CSC onto the second page is quite baffling.
While this latest concern doesn’t rank at the top of the list of debacles created by Dr. Snipes office, in most counties it would lead to a major inquest of the supervisor’s office. However, in Broward most have come to expect some issues that reflect a level of poor planning and incompetence from the SOE.
With 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 come under greater scrutiny recently. It has been actively discussed that Dr. Snipes might retire in 2016. Whether she walks away from this job after well over a decade or not, the the operations of the SOE office is likely to be a major campaign issue in the next election cycle.