Elections

Finally, Broward has finished the recount. It blew a deadline, but made the one that counts

Brenda Snipes makes a statement after machine count is completed

Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes makes a prepared statement after Broward County met the 3 P.M. deadline for a machine recount.
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Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes makes a prepared statement after Broward County met the 3 P.M. deadline for a machine recount.

Broward County didn’t make the deadline that one of its canvassing board judges unofficially set for 10 a.m. Sunday. But the county did make the deadline that counted, submitting its official recount results an hour before the state’s noon cutoff.

They weren’t taking chances this time, though.

Broward County started the actual machine recount of election ballots Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 10:40 a.m.

To avoid a repeat of Thursday’s deadline debacle — when the board certified results 15 minutes before the deadline but staffers submitted them two minutes late — the board asked Broward Election Director Joseph D’Alessandro to report back once the results were officially submitted.

“The results have been transmitted to Tallahassee,” said D’Alessandro, head of elections planning and development. “They have received our results and have accepted them.”

The crowd, thinned considerably as many of the lawyers and national media have left, broke into applause.

Sunday’s finish line caps Broward’s 13-day saga of counting and re-counting. The drama included daily protests by conservatives alleging conspiracy, tweets from President Donald Trump questioning Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes’ competence and repeated calls for her removal.

Not to mention lawsuits, lawsuits, lawsuits.

Snipes told reporters that 2,040 “missing ballots” were never missing, just misfiled. They weren’t counted in the machine recount, but they were included in the totals sent to the state from the first count.

“They were counted where they fell in the process,” she said.

Her lawyer advised her not to answer questions on her possible removal by Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis or on her specific suggestions for changes in the statute-defined recount process. This recount was the first test of the new laws enacted after the disastrous 2000 recount.

“One lesson I learned: it is a big operation, and there are some things that need to be tweaked,” she said. “You saw the pressure that was put on.”

The plan Sunday morning was to have D’Alessandro triple-check his numbers and present them for the board to approve at 8 a.m., but there were delays in gathering the data, errors in its initial presentation to the board and quibbles between lawyers on the wording of a supplementary report.

As 11 a.m. approached, the canvassing judges grew impatient.

“Everybody here, including Dr. Snipes, has worked hard and diligent in this process for hours and hours,” said Judge Deborah Carpenter-Toye. “We are now in the 11th hour, and I am prepared to end this process.”

Neighboring Miami-Dade, the most populous county in the state, completed its recount and submitted the results Saturday night. Palm Beach County, plagued by machine errors, didn’t even plan to start the manual recount of the commissioner of agriculture race until past the noon deadline.

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