A federal judge could soon make a national example out of Broward County’s elections office. Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes has been on trial, defending her office against claims it isn’t doing enough to remove ineligible voters from the county’s voter rolls, a practice that could lead to voter fraud. Snipes asserts that she’s making a reasonable effort to keep the lists up to date and is doing everything the law requires. The county’s elections office is one of more than 140 nationwide that have been accused of having more registered voters than eligible voting-age residents. Several organizations have threatened lawsuits if the counties don’t get more aggressive at removing ineligible voters from their lists. The Broward case is the first to go to trial, and it’s seen as a possible precedent for others.
“Outcomes matter in this case,” said J. Christian Adams, who represented the American Civil Rights Union in its case against Broward County. “If there are problems in the rolls, it should be addressed.”
His efforts are opposed by groups that fear eligible voters might be scrubbed from the rolls, too, if an all-out effort to purge names becomes more important than ensuring that properly registered residents remain on the voter lists.
U.S. District Court Judge Beth Bloom’s decision on what is reasonable and what extra obligations can be placed on elections offices is at least several months away.