Broward County, Florida has been hit with yet another election scandal. This time, a huge “mistake” was discovered on the ballots. Broward County’s Supervisor of Elections, Brenda Snipes, is finished.
Broward County’s Supervisor of Elections, Brenda Snipes, has been engulfed in scandal, and not just this election cycle. However, her incompetence and outright willingness to meddle in an election this time around will likely cost the woman her job — and it’s about damn time.
The latest example of Snipes’ shady dealings comes in the form of a misleading design error on the Broward County ballots which led to a discrepancy not seen anywhere else in the entire nation. Ultimately, Snipes is responsible for the design of the ballots, and judging from her scandal-ridden past, this is probably no coincidence.
In Broward County, the United States Senate race saw 26,000 votes less than the state’s governor race, which amounts to an extremely high rate of undervoting:
Unusually, the votes tabulated in Broward County so far exhibit a high rate of something called “undervoting,” or not voting in all the races on the ballot. Countywide, 26,060 fewer votes were cast in the U.S. Senate race than in the governor race. Put another way, turnout in the Senate race was 3.7 percent lower than in the gubernatorial race.
Broward County’s undervote rate is way out of line with every other county in Florida, which exhibited, at most, a 0.8-percent difference. (There is one outlier — the sparsely populated Liberty County — where votes cast in the Senate race were 1 percent higher than in the governor race, but there we’re talking about a difference of 26 votes, not more than 26,000, as is the case in Broward.)
To put in perspective what an eye-popping number of undervotes that is, more Broward County residents voted for the down-ballot constitutional offices of chief financial officer and state agriculture commissioner than U.S. Senate — an extremely high-profile election in which $181 million was spent. Generally, the higher the elected office, the less likely voters are to skip it on their ballots. Something sure does seem off in Broward County; we just don’t know what yet.
One possible reason for the discrepancy is poor ballot design. Broward County ballots listed the U.S. Senate race first, right after the ballot instructions. But that pushed the U.S. Senate race to the far bottom left of the ballot, where voters may have skimmed over it, while the governor’s race appears at the top of the ballot’s center column, immediately to the right of the instructions. [Source: FiveThirtyEight]
The machine-readable sheets from Broward County listed the Senate race, between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Bill Nelson, in the left-most bottom corner, beneath a lengthy instruction section. The governor’s race, which received over 26,000 more votes, had prominent billing at the top of the center column.
The problem is so glaring that even MSNBC commented on the ballot’s layout:
No other place in Florida experienced the same level of undervoting that Broward County did. In fact, there were no other locals that even came close.
If this were the first time that something shady went down in Broward, perhaps we could chalk it up to being nothing more than an honest mistake. However, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Brenda Snipes is not honest. The woman can’t be trusted as far as she can be thrown.
Do you think the issue with Broward County’s ballots was intentional? After all, this was a major Senate race in which millions of dollars were invested — the stakes couldn’t have been higher.