The new Broward County Supervisor of Elections could be appointed by Governor-elect Ron DeSantis – depending on when exactly Brenda Snipes’ resignation goes into effect.
Snipes – who has been heavily criticized throughout her 15-year tenure for election issues in the county – has reportedly submitted her resignation. She was the center of a particularly contentious recount in Florida this year in the closely-watched gubernatorial and Senate battles.
“It is true. She did send it,” Burnadette Norris-Weeks, an attorney who works as counsel to the Supervisor of Elections Office, told the Sun-Sentinel.
It’s unclear exactly when Snipes’ resignation goes into effect, but two people familiar with the letter told the newspaper it would likely be the beginning of January.
Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded to DeSantis, a former Republican congressman, Saturday in the gubernatorial race. Incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson conceded to GOP Gov. Rick Scott in the U.S. Senate contest a day later.
How does a person become an election supervisor?
Florida counties elect their election supervisors in general elections every four years in years that are a multiple of four, according to Florida state statutes.
The term begins on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January following the election, according to the statutes.
Snipes, a Democrat, was appointed as Broward County’s Supervisor of Elections in 2003 by then-Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican. Her appointment came on the heels of Bush’s suspension of Miriam Oliphant over a variety of issues, including a nearly $1 million deficit, The New York Times reported at the time.
Oliphant later lost a bid to win back her seat. Snipes was elected to her position in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. She would have faced another election in 2020.
Although he appointed her more than a decade ago, Bush had called for Snipes to be removed from her position.
“There is no question that Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes failed to comply with Florida law on multiple counts, undermining Floridians’ confidence in our electoral process. Supervisor Snipes should be removed from her office following the recounts,” the former governor and 2016 presidential candidate said in a tweet.
Who will be in charge of replacing Snipes?
Although it’s still unclear exactly when Snipes’ resignation takes effect, if it is in January, the decision about who to replace her could fall on DeSantis’ shoulders, he told Fox News. But if it's an immediate resignation, Scott could be in charge of the replacement, DeSantis added.
The swearing in for Scott, who was elected to the U.S. Senate, is Jan. 3, although he hasn’t said exactly when he will leave the governorship, according to the Sun-Sentinel. DeSantis is to be sworn in on Jan. 8.
Norris-Weeks told the newspaper Snipes’ resignation is set for Jan. 2. But Evelyn Perez-Verdia, a former spokeswoman for the office, said she was told by those who had seen the letter that it's Jan. 5.
"I think it's good that Brenda Snipes has submitted her resignation," DeSantis told Fox News. "There was no way as governor I was going to let her preside over another election down there after all the problems that they had."
In a tweet, Perez-Verdia said whoever DeSantis picks "will possibly be of his first proofs of what type of leader he plans to be to Floridians."
Anything else to know about the job?
Among the supervisors’ duties are: making sure voter registration information is updated, preserving certain information for several years, ensuring voter registration systems is in compliance and keeping a list of valid residential street addresses, according to Florida’s statutes.
Supervisors are also required to be trained “in the proper implementation of voter registration procedures available to any individual, group, center for independent living, or public library in the supervisor’s county,” the statues mandate.
Supervisors have the power to appoint as many deputy supervisors as deemed necessary for the office.