The elections supervisor in Florida’s second-most populous county broke state and federal law by unlawfully destroying ballots cast in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s 2016 Democratic primary, a judge ruled Friday in a case brought by the congresswoman’s challenger who wanted to check for voting irregularities. In light of the ruling, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration — which has expressed concerns with how Broward County Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes has handled the case — told POLITICO that he’s reviewing the judge’s order and will have her office monitored. “During the upcoming election, the Department of State will send a Florida elections expert from the Division of Elections to Supervisor Snipes’ office to ensure that all laws are followed so the citizens of Broward County can have the efficient, properly run election they deserve,” Scott’s office said in a written statement.
Snipes and her lawyer, Burnadette Norris-Weeks, did not return an email from POLITICO for comment, though a consultant working on the office’s behalf confirmed its receipt. Snipes’ predecessor was removed from office by former Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Senate for botching the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary.
Tim Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor who ran against Wasserman Schultz in 2016 and is challenging her again this year as an independent, said Scott should suspend Snipes for destroying the paper ballots while his lawsuit was ongoing. Snipes has said it was a mistake and has noted her office made copies of the ballots.