A Florida election supervisor mixed some invalid ballots along with about 200 valid ones, according to a report, in the latest example of what Republicans say has been the incompetent handling of votes as the state braces for a possible recount.
The error was found after Brenda Snipes, a Broward County official who has a long history of controversies involving vote counting, agreed to present 205 provisional ballots to the county’s canvassing board for inspection, the Miami Herald reported.
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The canvassing board declared Friday that 20 of the 205 provisional ballots were illegal due to mismatched signatures. The 205 ballots had been set aside then counted in a voting machine, though the results weren’t added to the election’s final total vote count, the report said.
As of Friday night, no solution to the mistake had been found.
Snipes agreed to present the ballots for inspection to the board after Republican attorneys objected to Snipes’ initial plan to handle the ballots administratively.
“We have found no clear authority controlling the situation faced by the board,” said Broward County Attorney Andrew Meyers, according to the newspaper.
Broward County collected more than 600 provisional ballots on the Election Day, but the vast majority were declared invalid by the board for reasons such as the voter had registered too late or had voted at the wrong precinct.
Just over 200 ballots were also deemed neither valid nor invalid due to an issue related to the system that looks up voter registrations. Some voters apparently swiped their ID, but the precinct system couldn’t confirm whether they were registered voters, prompting staffers to ask such voters to fill out provisional ballots.
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Republican lawyers pressed Snipes, using the latest case to argue that she has been mismanaging the voting procedure, and asked whether the 205 votes will be counted. She reportedly declined to answer.
Broward County is mandated to provide its unofficial vote total from the midterm elections to the state by midday Saturday.
The county and Snipes have come under heavy scrutiny because Broward — Florida’s No. 2 most populous county, with more than 1.9 million residents — could be the area that decides two key races: the U.S. Senate election between Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson and Republican challenger Gov. Rick Scott, and the Florida governor race between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis.