Although Snipes doesn’t need county commission approval on her precincting plan, it could come up during budget negotiations.
In Snipes’ budget request to the county commission in May, she asked for money to hire a new GIS mapping specialist and $16 million for equipment to purchase new ballot scanners, precinct modems, voting booths and other equipment for election day or early voting sites. It’s unclear if commissioners will grant her full request when they vote on the budget in September but some have questioned it.
“Everyone wants more $$,” tweeted Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter during a May budget workshop. “Yes things are getting better, but not that better and not that fast.”
In an interview, Commissioner Marty Kiar questioned whether Snipes will be able to add more precincts if the county doesn’t grant her budget request for more equipment.
Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief of Miramar represents part of the county that had some of the largest voting precincts. On election day, one precinct drew so many voters that it ran out of ballots, she said. At the Miramar library on election day, “you could go there at any moment in time and find 500-700 people,” she said.
Voters at crowded precincts grew frustrated, Sharief said.
“I had people get out of line who said they had been here three hours and were not standing in this line,” she said.
Coral Springs voter Andrew Ladanowski, who ran unsuccessfully for school board in 2012, has sent emails to Snipes’ office with questions about the number of voters in precincts.
“I need some help understanding why some precincts have two voters and some have 4,400, this makes elections run very inefficiently and costly,” he wrote to Snipes’ office in an email he forwarded to the Miami Herald. “This also breaks trust with the voters. Voters are expecting that their vote will count and the people can’t determine how they voted. I found some instances where I could determine how voters voted.”
Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections President Lori Edwards, a supervisor in Polk County, called reorganizing voters in precincts, or reprecincting, a “necessary evil.”
“Voters don’t like change,” she said. “Every time you move a precinct line things become more convenient for some people and less convenient for others.”
Miami Herald staff writer Patricia Mazzei contributed to this article.