Candidates With A Contract, the non-partisan political reform group dedicated to eliminating corporate money from politics, has started a petition calling on a U.S. House committee to investigate the 2018 general election in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District.
Without election integrity we do not have a democracy! ADD YOUR NAME: SIGN THE PETITION.
We the undersigned demand immediate action by the House Administration Committee to investigate the November 6, 2018 election in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. The official election results certified that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the incumbent Democrat, as the winner. The election has been challenged in the House by Tim Canova, a law professor, who ran as an independent.
There is significant evidence casting significant doubt on these election results, including the following:
- Broward County election officials failed to maintain proper chain of custody of the paper ballots cast in the 2018 election.
- Florida election officials failed to maintain any proper chain of custody of the electronic voting machines.
- Broward County election officials failed to maintain digital scanned images of the ballots as directed by the Florida Secretary of State.
- The electronic scanning machines all had wireless digital scanned images, and were thereby vulnerable to outside hackers.
- No one is permitted to inspect the software that was actually used in the election since the source code is considered “proprietary.”
Moreover, the official 2018 election results, as reported by Brenda Snipes, then the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, were highly suspect:
- For nearly 98,000 votes recorded for Wasserman Schultz, there was no indication of where, when, and how they were cast (in vote by mail, early voting, Election Day, or provisional ballots.) A month after the election was certified, an unverifiable Excel document was finally provided. FL elections rule 1S-2.053, which allows this hiding of votes, and the obstacles to obtaining public records requests are the opposite of transparency.
- Canova’s share of the official vote was 5% in every demographic group, a result so implausible that one highly credentialed expert in statistics and computational science concluded that it was as likely as winning the lottery every day for a year.
2018 was not the first suspicious election in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. In 2016, Wasserman Schultz survived a hotly contested Democratic primary challenge from Professor Canova, who later sought to inspect the paper ballots cast in the primary. When the Broward County Supervisor of Elections stonewalled Canova’s public records request, he filed a lawsuit to enforce his inspection rights. But while that lawsuit was pending, Snipes destroyed all the paper ballots. The Florida Circuit Court granted summary judgment to Canova in May 2018, ruling that Snipes had violated numerous state and federal criminal statutes by destroying the ballots. To this date, there has been no criminal investigation of Snipes’ illegal ballot destruction.
Article I, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution authorizes each House of Congress to be the final judge of the qualifications and elections of its members. Canova filed his election contest with the Clerk of the House and the House Administration Committee in December 2018. In early January 2019, the House of Representatives seated Wasserman Schultz without considering Canova’s complaint, thereby rendering moot Canova’s legal challenge in the Florida courts.
We demand that the House Administration Committee investigate the 2018 election in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. We demand election justice and election integrity. We demand the rule of law and transparency in our elections.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
SIGN THE PETITION demanding the House investigate the 2018 election results
Help Tim contest the 2018 election results DONATE
Help Tim pay off campaign debt DONATE
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Canova Challenges Results from November General Election
Tim Canova, Independent candidate for Congress in Florida’s 23rd District, has called on Congress to “declare the election results so unreliable as to be invalid and vacate the seat currently held by Wasserman Schultz.”
Canova maintains that “as a result of machine error, malicious programming, malfunction and/or misfeasance coupled with election administration error the results of his election are cast in serious doubt and do not reflect the will of the voters of Florida.”
Canova believes that “actions of misconduct by Dr. Brenda Snipes, the Broward County Supervisor of Elections and other Florida and Broward election officials…require that the election be set aside.”
In his filing to the U.S. House of Representatives, Canova states that “Snipes failed to safeguard the chain of custody of the paper ballots cast in Broward County for this election, and the scope of this issue is sufficient to change or place in doubt the results of this election as now certified.”
Ballots Transported In Private Vehicles
Concerned citizen sees ballots being transported in private vehicles & transferred to rented truck outside the Plantation, Florida voting site on Election night.
Read Canova’s Complaint to the U.S. House. Click lower left arrow to advance each page. House Challenge Complaint
Please Help Fund our Lawsuit Contesting the Election against Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Donate Here.
Sun Sentinel | December 7, 2018
Tim Canova, who overwhelmingly lost his latest attempt to unseat Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, wants a judge to throw out the results of the November election. He wants a do-over — with all the ballots counted by hand.
In a lawsuit filed in Leon County Circuit Court, calling Wasserman Schultz the “reported winner,” Canova asserts that misconduct by former Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes “require[s] that the election be set aside,” arguing that “her actions create more than reasonable doubt that the certified results do not express the will of the voters.”
Canova, who ran as a no party affiliation/independent candidate, received 13,697 votes — slightly less than 5 percent — in the Nov. 6 election. Democrat Wasserman Schultz received 161,611 votes, which works out to 58.5 percent.
The latest version of Canova’s complaint, filed Wednesday, focuses its critique on Snipes and the way the election was conducted in Broward. The district includes parts of two counties, and Canova received a higher percentage of the vote (5.1 percent) in the Broward part of the district than in the Miami-Dade part of the district (3.4 percent).
Canova faces an exceedingly high bar in seeking to set aside the results and get a new election.
“It’s really, really tough,” said Mark Herron, a Tallahassee lawyer who is an expert on election law. Herron commented generally, not on the merits of Canova’s case. The most recent high-profile case was a judge’s order overturning the 1997 Miami mayoral election after extensive absentee ballot fraud.
Among Canova’s allegations:
Snipes’ office didn’t report the results for each voting precinct by voting method — Election Day voting, early voting, mail voting — in a timely manner. Canova’s suit describes votes that weren’t immediately identified as “nearly 98,000 votes from nowhere.” Canova said they “may have been votes transferred illegally from another candidate or candidates.” The lawsuit offers no evidence to support that theory. The results are reported the same way in other counties — and the way state rules require.
State regulations tell elections supervisors to break down results by candidate and ballot type — except that when one of the categories is fewer than 10 votes “the supervisor shall report zero votes in all subtotals.” The rule ensures individual votes are kept secret.
The ballot scanners used at polling places “are inherently defective as to the chain of custody for the electronic votes.” Canova asserted that the modems in the machines “render them highly susceptible to outside hacking and inside software manipulation.”
Ballots on election night were, in at least some cases, accompanied by just one person, which allowed individuals “the improper opportunity to do anything they want with the ballots.”
Snipes posed for a picture with Wasserman Schultz on Oct. 27, showing “an arrogant disregard to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest in the supervision of the 2018 election.”
A significant number of undervotes, where people voted in other races, “may mean that legitimate votes have either not been counted or have been discarded.”
Congressional races in Broward were placed in the lower left corner of the ballot, below the instructions, a placement that apparently caused massive under voting in the U.S. Senate race, contributing to incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson’s defeat. During the recount in the Senate race, there wasn’t evidence of votes not counted or discarded. The lawsuit asserts that the location of the race on the ballot “is unlikely to be the sole reason for the high undervote.”
Snipes’ overall handling of the 2018 election, including missed deadlines, a 2,040-ballot discrepancy during recounting and the confusing ballot design, generated massive criticism. In mid-November, Snipes said she would resign in January. On Nov. 30, Gov. Rick Scott suspended and replaced Snipes, citing “misfeasance, incompetence and neglect of duty.”
Much of Canova’s complaint in the current case repeats his dispute with Snipes over the 2016 Democratic congressional primary, which Canova lost to Wasserman Schultz.
A Broward circuit court judge ruled in May that Snipes’ office broke federal and state law by destroying ballots too soon after the August 2016 primary. Snipes signed the ballot destruction order a year after the primary; the law requires preservation of the ballots for 22 months.
The ballots were destroyed even though a separate Canova lawsuit seeking access to the ballots was pending.
Canova, who lives in Hollywood, is a professor of law and public finance at Nova Southeastern University. Wasserman Schultz, a Weston resident, is serving her seventh term in Congress. Two other candidates were on the ballot in November: Republican Joe Kaufman, who won 36 percent of the vote, and no party affiliation candidate Don Endriss, who received 0.6 percent.
The state Elections Canvassing Commission, a defendant in the Canova suit, determines who is elected in presidential, state office and congressional contests. The state Division of Elections, part of the Secretary of State’s Office, operates as the staff for the commission. Sarah Revell, spokeswoman for the agency, said by email she couldn’t comment on pending litigation.
Wasserman Schultz’s spokesman declined to comment.
READ First Amended Complaint To Contest Election- use lower left arrow to scroll down
1st Amended Complaint filed 12-05-18
The Broward County Election Swamp
Since Election Day, the eyes of the nation have been on Broward County. While all other counties in Florida completed their counting of ballots, Broward continued finding new ballots to be counted, nearly swinging the election results for U.S. Senate and Florida Governor from Republicans to Democrats. Now there’s a state-wide machine recount, and the likelihood of lawsuits and possible hand recounts.
It’s been more than a year since we discovered that Brenda Snipes, the Broward Supervisor of Elections, illegally destroyed all the ballots cast in our 2016 primary against Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The news media refused to cover the story. If not for this double-trainwreck that landed in Broward, with both Governor and Senate races hanging in the balance, the media blackout would have continued. Instead, because of her role in the middle of the contested races for Governor and Senator, the mainstream media is finally asking questions about Snipes.
I warned for months that the failure to remove Snipes and her cronies from office would undermine public trust and result in continuing election irregularities, frauds, and illegal conduct. Since Election Day, I have heard from countless Broward residents from across the political spectrum expressing the same view, that they have lost faith and confidence in Broward election results, from non-partisan city commission and judicial elections to primaries and Congressional elections. Many ran for office as outsiders fighting for clean government, and now are horrified to see the level of corruption in our elections.
Two years ago, I first sought to inspect the ballots cast in our 2016 primary in an effort to verify the vote. Instead, we discovered that Snipes and one of her directors, Dozel Spencer, conspired to obstruct justice and tamper with evidence. This is not a theory, but an actual conspiracy that was established by a mountain of evidence discovered in our public records lawsuit against Snipes. In sworn videotaped depositions, Snipes and Spencer admitted to the ballot destruction.
The Florida Circuit Court then granted us summary judgment in a 10-page order finding that Snipes obstructed justice, lied to the court, illegally tampered with evidence, and violated numerous state and federal criminal statutes, some punishable as felonies.
I reached out to Florida Governor Rick Scott months ago, as well as Democratic and Republican party officials, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and every member of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. None responded, no one saw fit to investigate, and Republican Rick Scott failed to remove Snipes from office, an abdication of his responsibility as Governor to uphold the rule of law and protect us from official corruption.
The journalist Chris Hedges has said that the corruption today is so bad that they don’t even try to hide it. Barely a week before the recent election, Snipes campaigned openly with Wasserman Schultz. And why not, she had already destroyed ballots with impunity. I warned for months that if her crimes went unpunished, Snipes would have every incentive to engage in future illegal conduct and rig another election against us. The burden should not be on campaigns like ours to prove fraud when someone with Snipes’ record is left in charge of elections.
Snipes and her top staff should have been prosecuted months ago. Allowing someone with her record of lawlessness to continue supervising the recent primary and general election taints all those results by creating “incurable uncertainties” about the election outcomes. That’s why a growing number of Broward residents and former candidates are now arguing that recent election results from the primary and general elections should be invalidated, and that the courts should order new elections with appropriate safeguards – namely, hand-marked paper ballots that are counted by hand in public.
Our campaign has also uncovered other disturbing irregularities in the recent election. One campaign volunteer smelled a rat on Election night, and took video on her smart phone of a line of private vehicles driving up and transferring the blue satchels containing paper ballots to a rented truck.
Outside the Plantation, Florida voting site on Election night 2018.
The ballots should have been in the possession of two people at all times. They were not. In addition, the ballots should have been transferred only to a sheriff’s deputy who should have signed a receipt for the ballots. None of this happened, which destroys the “chain-of-custody” of the ballots and casts doubt on any potential paper ballot recount.
Like many other candidates who have lost under highly suspicious circumstances, we are still assessing our options moving forward. One thing is certain, whatever happens to our campaign, we will continue calling for Snipes and her staff to be removed from office and prosecuted for their crimes. The criminal justice system must be used to clean up the swamp in the Broward elections office.
Many of you have asked what more you can do to help. If you live in Broward County and you observed any election irregularities, please contact our campaign as soon as possible. Please share the information we’ve been posting on our social media, as well as our email communications to you. Lastly and most importantly, our efforts to fight this corruption have cost all of us dearly. Please donate here whatever you can to help us retire our campaign debt, which will enable us to move forward quickly in our fight for election integrity.
Sadly, what has been happening here in Broward County, with election officials breaking the law with impunity, could happen almost anywhere in the country. Our fight is your fight, and we will keep on fighting.