Florida Gov. Rick Scott suspends Broward elections chief Brenda Snipes

click to enlarge Florida Gov. Rick Scott suspends Broward elections chief Brenda Snipes
Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
In one of his final moments as Florida's governor, Rick Scott levied a wave of appointments Friday night and suspended Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes over several "inexcusable actions" during the 2018 midterm election recounts.

Governor Scott announced Snipes' suspension late Friday afternoon, citing "misfeasance, incompetence and neglect of duty" and appointed former Republican Florida Commerce Secretary Peter Antonacci as Broward's interim elections supervisor.

"Mr. Antonacci will serve for the remainder of the term until a replacement can be chosen by voters in November 2020," the governor's office said in a press release.

Days after election day, Scott's campaign for U.S. Senate and the National Republican Senatorial Committee won a suit against Broward's elections office accusing Snipes of withholding public records that show how many ballots were cast and how many remained to be counted in her county.

In Friday's suspension, Scott centered on the records skirmish during the recounts and cited instances in which Snipes permitted staff to open unverified ballots not yet seen by county canvassing boards. The order also zeroed in on Broward failing to meet state-mandated ballot counting deadlines and "commingling" accepted and rejected ballots.

Brenda Snipes resigned from her role as elections supervisor Nov. 19, capping her 15-year run overseeing one of the most tumultuous election season counties in the country.

"After a series of inexcusable actions, it’s clear that there needs to be an immediate change in Broward County," Scott said in a statement. "And taxpayers should no longer be burdened by paying a salary for a Supervisor of Elections who has already announced resignation."

Antonacci, a former lobbyist and chief executive of Florida's economic development organization Enterprise Florida, Inc., has "more than three decades of experience in Florida state government," according to his company profile.

Scott's other appointments included real estate company Barron Collier executive David Boyd Genson to Florida Transportation Commission. Genson, a Naples native, will have to be confirmed by the Florida Senate to take office.

Marie Waugh, a former human resources chief at energy production giant APTIM, was appointed to North Broward Hospital District Board of Commissioners and David Jordan as Lake County Tax Collector after 19 years as chief deputy tax collector.

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