News & Politics

Florida Election Officials Threaten to Arrest Reporters for Shining a Light on Ballot Counting

Susan Bucher, second right, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections and Judge August Bonavita, seated at center left, look at provisional ballots in Riviera Beach, Fla., Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. A possible recount looms in a tight Florida gubernatorial, U.S. Senate and agriculture commission race. (AP Photo/Josh Repogle)

Nothing to see here, move along.

Palm Beach Post:

Tensions flared Friday morning when Bucher threatened to have camera operators and newspaper reporters arrested for filming ballot tabulation as Palm Beach County. The meeting at least half a dozen television cameras and even more reporters as Palm Beach County is one of the last in Florida to report unofficial results in an election with three tight statewide races. Bucher accused several reporters of illegally taking pictures and videos of signatures on the envelopes of mail ballots.

Reporters repeatedly assured Bucher that they were filming the board members from a safe distance as they examined ballots and decided whether to toss or count them. Signatures were not visible in any Palm Beach Post photos.

Still, Bucher insisted that she’d bring officers to forcibly remove any member of the media who filmed the process.

The effort by Susan Bucher, Palm Beach County elections supervisor, went to naught. A judge ordered the board’s deliberations open.

Bucher decided a little humor was in order to lighten the mood.

When under attack for trying to cheat, scream “raaaaaaacism!”

That’s just Palm Beach County. How are things in Broward County with our friend, elections supervisor Brenda Snipes?

About what you’d expect.

Miami Herald:

Broward’s elections supervisor accidentally mixed more than a dozen rejected ballots with nearly 200 valid ones, a circumstance that is unlikely to help Brenda Snipes push back against Republican allegations of incompetence.

The mistake — for which no one had a solution Friday night — was discovered after Snipes agreed to present 205 provisional ballots to the Broward County canvassing board for inspection. She had initially intended to handle the ballots administratively, but agreed to present them to the canvassing board after Republican attorneys objected.

“We have found no clear authority controlling the situation faced by the board,” said Broward County Attorney Andrew Meyers.

Snipes had absolutely no authority to handle the ballots “administratively” — having her staff take care of the counting without handing the ballots over to the canvassing board. That’s against the law. And Rick Scott’s suit against Snipes specifically called her out for this. A judge ruled in Scott’s favor, forcing Snipes to follow the law and hand the ballots over.

Senator Marco Rubio has been on top of this drama from the beginning. He asks what the hell is going on in Broward County.

Instead of asking questions like good little reporters, the media is all in with the notion that objections to these violations of Florida election laws are just one more gigantic conspiracy theory by Republicans.

So the federal judges who ruled in favor of Rick Scott’s lawsuits also believe in the “conspiracy theory”?

It’s quite simple: Democratic election officials in at least two of the most populous counties in Florida are either ignorant of the law or are deliberately subverting it when it comes to proper ballot-counting procedures. Two judges have called them out for violating the Florida constitution and election laws. What’s it going to take for the media to start paying attention, asking questions and digging for answers?