Somebody might buy Brenda Snipes' latest tale of woe, but it won't be a Republican.
First the Broward supervisor of elections announces the county finished its recount 15 minutes ahead of schedule -- then, a little later takes it all back.
And all of a sudden Broward's results were uploaded two minutes after the state's 3 p.m. deadline, invalidating the whole machine recount tally.
It was all just an unfortunate twist of fate that the upload would take 17 minutes, said the embattled Snipes, who had just boasted Thursday afternoon that her office had never missed a deadline.
Republican Gov. Rick Scott is livid.
The two-minute miss wasn't a case of bungled ballot, the governor says. It was deliberate. He pointed out it just so happens the "unfortunate twist" voided a net gain of 779 votes for Scott against Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson. So, the county's results from last Tuesday’s election will stand until manual recount totals in the state's closely contested Senate race come in Sunday at noon.
Scott's campaign agreed it was all deliberate, accusing Snipes of intentionally submitting late results to invalidate them.
In fact, it was a deeper disappointment for Agriculture commissioner candidate Matt Caldwell, who is running a very close second to Democrat Nikki Fried. Had Snipes made the deadline, Caldwell would have moved more than 700 votes closer to Fried.
Snipes made no apology. "An election like the one we just finished almost always has so many moving parts and so many components," she said late Thursday. "I'm pleased that we were able to accomplish what we did accomplish in the period of time that was available."
Meanwhile, in the Florida governor's race, Republican candidate Ron DeSantis holds a sizable 33,683-vote lead over Democrat Andrew Gillum following the machine recount, a margin high enough under state law to avoid a mandatory manual recount. Gillum, who gained only 1 vote on DeSantis in the recount, still has not conceded in the race.
As of the 3 p.m. deadline for a machine recount of three close statewide contests, nearly all of Florida’s 67 counties -- except Palm Beach and Hillsborough counties -- had reported updated results.
“Basically, I just worked my ass off for nothing,” said Joseph D’Alessandro, Broward County’s election planning and development director.
D’Alessandro told reporters he had a hard time uploading the results because he wasn’t familiar with the website used to send them to the secretary of state.
“We uploaded to the state two minutes late so the state has chosen not to use our machine recount results,” D’Alessandro said in the surprise announcement. “They are going to use our first unofficial results as our second unofficial results.”
Broward has been under the microscope since the recount was ordered Saturday, and Thursday’s mistake is just the latest in a series of missteps for the largely Democratic county.
Last week, a judge sided with Scott's campaign in a lawsuit in which he alleged Snipes had violated state public records law and the Florida Constitution by withholding critical ballot information.
Earlier this year, a judge found that Snipes had illegally destroyed ballots in a 2016 congressional contest, leading the secretary of state's office to assign election monitors to supervise her office. But Scott did not remove her from office in June in spite of pleas to do so.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith