Some things are beyond belief because the meagerness of human imagination doesn’t allow for such possibilities to exist unchecked, let alone become established and rewarded chronic behavior. Broward county gives our imagination the middle finger as its chronicity of mind-numbing incompetence is rivaled only by the void of consequences in which it flourishes.
The story begins with Miriam Oliphant: Oliphant was the Broward County Elections Supervisor who came into national spotlight after she fired the clerk who tipped state prosecutors to the location of of absentee ballots never counted during the September 2002 primary. Like I said, our imaginations are too meager, be prepared to say “it’s not possible” during the rest of this article. Robert Adams, the fired employee said Oliphant gave him no explanation as she ordered him to choose between being fired or quitting. His dismissal capped a six-week shakeup by Oliphant that included the forced departures of her top deputies.
Adams discovered a box containing 268 unopened ballots in a file cabinet in January and told prosecutors. All the ballots were locally postmarked up to a week before the September 2002 primary. Adams alleged that Oliphant had transferred him seven times and cut his pay from $28,000 to $21,000 after he talked to prosecutors. “It all began after I was called to testify and the ballots were taken out,” Adams said.
Miriam Oliphant was the Supervisor of Elections for Broward County, Florida, from January 2001, when she was elected to that position by over 65% of the vote, to November 2003 when she was suspended by Governor Jeb Bush for “…grave neglect, mismanagement and incompetence.” Although even Democratic activists backed Bush’s decision, Oliphant, the only African American holding a county-wide office at the time, enjoyed much support from the black community which reacted negatively to her ouster. In 2005, the Florida Senate voted 33 to 6 to uphold Governor Bush’s removal of Oliphant. Although immediately following the vote Oliphant’s attorney, Ellis Rubin, announced Oliphant would sue Governor Bush in Federal Court, no claim was ever filed.
Government investigators found that not only had her office neglected to perform basic essential tasks, but it had gone almost $1 million over budget. Among other findings was that Oliphant fired many experienced staff members, and replaced them with an all black and less (in some cases not-at-all) experienced friends and associates with significantly higher rates of pay. She hired a college admissions representative who didn’t even know what a primary election was and put her in charge of registration and absentee ballots. She promoted a computer specialist, whom she’d met in her condominium building, to deputy supervisor.
One of the most questioned of Oliphant’s personnel decisions was that of hiring a homeless man, Glen Davis, whom she met at the same shelter as her sister, who was also homeless. Davis, who was given mailroom duties, failed to process over 300 absentee ballots for a 2002 primary election. His performance notwithstanding, shortly before her removal Oliphant gave Davis a $5000 raise. Our imaginations are rendered useless in this narrative. Go get a drink or hit your head with a hammer. Thinking plausibility is a self-defeating endeavor.
She then made her way into the education system, working as a teacher, but was fired after she flunked her teacher certification and lost her job at a Fort Lauderdale school. After she was fired from her teaching job Oliphant was hired as a student counselor at Dave Thomas Education Center in Coconut Creek, she beat out 55 other candidates who also wanted the position. Amazingly she was hired at a salary of $75 thousand a year, at the top end of teacher pay, despite the fact she spent very little time in the last 25 years in a classroom.
Brenda Snipes, was appointed Broward County supervisor of elections in 2003 by then FL Governor, Jeb Bush to replace Miriam Oliphant Brenda after the calamitous issues in the 2000 election. Snipes was appointed to serve out a term in the role by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and she has won re-elections ever since. If Oliphant was bad, Snipes was determined to make Oliphant look fabulously competent by comparison.
Brenda Snipes’ office faced a June lawsuit filed in circuit court by then Democrat (and now independent) Tim Canova. He had wanted to inspect the optical-scan ballots cast in his Aug. 30 primary race against Wasserman Schultz because he had concerns about the integrity of the elections office. Under longstanding federal law, ballots cast in a congressional race aren’t to be destroyed until 22 months after the election. And under state law, a public record sought in a court case is not supposed to be destroyed without a judge’s order.
Snipes’ office, however, destroyed the paper ballots in question in September — in the middle of Canova’s lawsuit — but said it was lawful because the office made high-quality electronic copies. Canova’s legal team found this out after it had actually happened. Tim Canova posted this viral Twitter video
Caught On Video: Concerned citizen sees ballots being transported in private vehicles & transferred to rented truck on Election night. This violates all chain of custody requirements for paper ballots. Were the ballots destroyed & replaced by set of fake ballots? Investigate now! pic.twitter.com/GUPZnz7Gny
— Tim Canova (@Tim_Canova) November 8, 2018
of what appears to be unsupervised transport of ballots during the 2018 midterms. Seven election-law lawyers interviewed by POLITICO do not share Snipes’ attorney’s interpretation of the statute. Nor does the Department of Justice’s voting division, which is in charge of enforcing the federal law. Her attorney dismissed Canova as a sore loser trying to create a name for himself as he challenged Wasserman Schultz a second time. “Mr. Canova lost this election,” she said. “He’s been all over Washington and has been trying to do a documentary because he’s upset he lost the election.” Canova’s lawyer, Collins said the case is just “bizarre.” “You’re not supposed to destroy these ballots within 22 months,” Collins said. “They did. You can’t destroy public records in an ongoing court case. They did,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Tim Canova wrote an article entitled “I warned Gov. Scott about Broward’s election swamp” on Nov 9 2018 describing how he warned that the Broward Supervisor of Elections office was a swamp of corruption. He’d been urging then Gov. Rick Scott to fire Supervisor Brenda Snipes, clean out the office and start criminal investigations. “I’m sure Gov. Scott now wishes he had heeded those warnings.”
Snipes defended herself in one lawsuit over the way the office removes ineligible voters from the rolls. That case, filed in federal court in South Florida by the conservative American Civil Rights Union, alleges Broward had more registered voters than voting-age population. While on the witness stand in the federal case, Snipes admitted that some ineligible noncitizens had been on the rolls and that “a few of them had voted, yes.” Her legal team also didn’t dispute the testimony of a citizen activist who found that the rolls listed voters whose birth dates were listed as 1886 and 1889. If you are still reading this, being heavily inebriated will help blur the acute realization that this can’t be true and yet allowed to persist. Dead people vote in Broward County because the living are stuporous enough to resemble the dead who vote.
During the trial, Snipes’ office also botched producing a voter-roll maintenance manual it was supposed to furnish after the suit was filed. The manual was found four days before trial, but the office didn’t produce it until the morning of the second day of trial. The following day, Snipes’ office admitted that a portion of the manual, concerning the process of removing voters, was missing.
Following a court ruling in May that Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes had illegally destroyed ballots from a 2016 congressional race, the governor’s office announced the Florida Department of State would send election experts to Snipes’ office during this year’s election “to ensure that all laws are followed” and “to observe the administration of the election.” Snipes response was expectedly insouciant “I think the problems are blown out of proportion,” Snipes said as she led a reporter around the elections staging facility in Lauderhill in October. “Broward is nitpicked to the bone. Other places have the same problems, different problems. It’s just that they are not spotlighted like we are.”
I wrote about the highlights of Snipes’ career in my Twitter Thread.
1. Brenda Snipes has had several election related incidents:
Snipes was appointed Nov. 20, 2003, to replace Miriam Oliphant, who was escorted out of her office and removed from her job. While Oliphant was in office, uncounted votes were found in a cabinet drawer. Yes, Really.
— Rising serpent (@rising_serpent) November 10, 2018
Here is #BrendaSnipes admitting that she destroyed ballots! 😡
And Debbie Wasserman Schultz saying that rigging elections is easy to do!
— Str8 Don Lemon🍋👫🍺🌈❤ (@Str8DonLemon) November 9, 2018
Gateway Pundit compiled a Mix tape of her top Hits:
1.) Illegally destroying ballots
2.) Not mailing out absentee ballots
3.) Systemic breakdowns making it difficult for Floridians to cast votes
4.) Posted election results BEFORE POLLS CLOSED!
5.) Sued for leaving amendments off the ballots
6.) Did not notify voters their absentee ballot expired
7.) Having staffers campaign while on the clock
8.) Problems publishing ballots
9.) Ballot stuffing
10.) Voters receiving defective ballots
11.) Piles of ballots cropped up way after Election Day
12.) Opening ballots in private
13.) In 2016, just days before the November election, Republicans sued Brenda Snipes for illegally opening thousands of mail-in ballots before the election without supervision.
To recapitulate: Broward County is a disgrace, not just because of their past mistakes, but because their past mistakes have had no palpable effects on the present astonishing set of circumstances. Political apoplexy by both parties has led to fostering an environment where there have been no consequences for what can be described extremely charitably as chronic incompetence. Both parties bear the responsibility for allowing banana republic dynamics to thrive. For Brenda Snipes and her colleagues, it is only business as usual, just like they have done for decades. What is surprising is the surprise being expressed. How possibly could things have turned out differently? I have no sympathy for the politicians bleating foul play. They are just upset that they are now facing the consequences of their own inaction.