Friday, January 18, 2019

FL Gov. Suspended Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections and Accepts Resignation of Another

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday Dispatched Two South Florida Democratic Election Chiefs that faced GOP Scorn after Overseeing Botched 2018 Election Operations. The move completes a Republican-led Makeover of Election Oversight and Administration in Two of Florida's Democratic Counties.

DeSantis suspended Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher Friday on the Recommendation of Secretary of State Mike Ertel. In a Scathing Letter, Ertel cited Bucher’s “combative incompetence.” Separately, DeSantis also Accepted the Resignation of Broward County Supervisor Brenda Snipes. Snipes was Suspended by former Gov. Rick Scott (R), after a Slow Counting of Tens of Thousands of Ballots that cut into razor-thin leads held by GOP Candidates after Election Day. Scott Sued to Impound Broward and Palm Beach Voting Machines, a move Rejected by a Broward County Circuit Court judge.

Bucher was Elected in 2008. Snipes was Appointed Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and was First Reelected to the Position in 2004.

Scott and other Republicans openly sparred with the Two Supervisors after Election Day as Recounts engulfed Races for U.S. Senate, Governor, and Agriculture Commissioner. As the Recount raged, Scott asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to Investigate the Broward and Palm Beach Election Offices. The Agency found No Reason to Open an Investigation, citing "no criminal allegations of fraud."

Snipes Unsuccessfully fought her Suspension in Court. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker didn’t Reinstate her but noted that Scott had “vilified” her in the Weeks after the Election. She was Replaced by Pete Antonacci (R), a longtime Scott Loyalist who Served in his Administration in several Capacities. The Republican Attorney will now Oversee the 2020 Elections in one of Florida’s most Democratic-leaning Counties.

Bucher‘s Suspension had Democrats Assailing DeSantis for Partisan Overreach. “In the United States, our elections are sacred and our elections supervisors are democratically elected — the Governor's recent power grab, removing Democrats from elected positions, including Susan Bucher, should be seen for what it is, a gross overreach and a politically motivated move to consolidate power and obstruct the will of the people,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo.

DeSantis Replaced Bucher with Wendy Link (R), an Attorney who was Appointed by Scott to the State University System Board of Governors in 2013.

Ertel’s Letter recommending Bucher’s Suspension is Notable for its Direct and Biting Language. “I can say without equivocation the issues with the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office rest solely at the top of the organization, Susan Bucher,” Ertel wrote.

Bucher, a former Democratic Member of the Florida House said that Aged and Broken Voting Machines, not Incompetence, were to Blame for the Office’s Election woes. “We were trying to drive a ’65 Mustang to L.A. and back with a bad fan belt and we were hoping we wouldn’t break down,” she said at the time. “But we broke down.”

In his Letter, Ertel blamed Bucher for the Dilapidated Infrastructure. “[T]he fault is not with the equipment. Supervisor Bucher had years of foreknowledge that her county needed to buy new equipment, yet she chose not to,” Ertel wrote. “Supervisor Bucher’s supervision of staff is also a factor. It was noted by an observer the tabulation system had been modified with a paper clip permanently affixed to the ‘enter’ key, in effect forcing an overheating of the system.“

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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