Tim's Response to Sun Sentinel Editorial on Brenda Snipes' Credibility

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Here’s a rather weak and dismal editorial by the South Florida Sun Sentinel, essentially white-washing the illegal destruction of ballots by Brenda Snipes, the Broward County Supervisor of Elections. 

Please share with anyone you know living in South Florida! Nothing will change if people are not made aware of what’s actually happening. And it’s painfully clear that the Sun Sentinel and others in the corporate media will keep hiding the truth if permitted to do so.

The Sun Sentinel lamely points out that Snipes has not been charged with any crime -- at least not yet -- to try to justify her remaining in office, making $177,628 a year, until 2020. Instead, they should be asking whether federal or state prosecutors are investigating Snipes’ crimes. They may also ask what it says about our criminal justice system if prosecutors are also sweeping this under the rug. The answer is obvious: that if you’re wealthy, powerful or politically connected, you are above the law. 

The Sun Sentinel fails to mention the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars still being wasted by the Supervisor still litigating so many months after admitting to destroying all the original ballots cast in our 2016 primary against master-rigger Debbie Wasserman Schultz. 

The Sun Sentinel has once again forgotten basic journalistic ethics by asking Snipes’ lawyer to comment on the case without bothering to ask our very capable lawyers for comment. Instead, the Sun Sentinel repeated, without rebuttal, the Supervisor’s claim that I somehow delayed my public records request - the exact opposite of what actually happened. It was the Supervisor and her attorney who delayed and delayed for seven months until I finally sued. And we have ample proof, a record of correspondence between our lawyers to prove it! 

The Sun Sentinel also repeats Snipes’ lame defense that I kept changing my public records request and the request was unreasonable because I offered to bring our own rented scanning and photocopy machines. They didn’t mention that this was in response to Snipes informing us that she had not made any digital scanned images of the ballots. Nor did the Sun Sentinel report that the Supervisor later changed her story -- in other words lied -- about whether or not she took digital images, which mysteriously and suspiciously turned up only after Snipes destroyed the ballots. This is all well documented in our videotaped depositions of Snipes and her senior staff, and in the documentary evidence obtained in the pre-trial discovery process. It’s telling that none of Snipes’ spurious defenses carried the day with the Florida Circuit Court. 

There’s absolutely no reason to indulge in “even the best reading of Snipes,” as the Sun Sentinel does. Given her pattern of deception and illegal conduct, Snipes deserves no such presumptions. Unfortunately, we must consider the worst of readings, that Snipes destroyed the ballots to cover up an electronic hacking or software manipulation that altered the outcome of our primary against Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Why else commit felonies in destroying the ballots and then lying about the destruction for months?!

Instead, the Sun Sentinel editors play the part of Captain Renault in the classic film Casablanca, “Shocked, shocked!” that gambling was going on in the casino. 

The Sun Sentinel also repeated Snipes’ lawyer’s characterization of my lawsuit as a “political stunt.” How utterly sad and pathetic. I’ve paid thousands of dollars out of my own pocket, have sacrificed so much in time, energy and resources, and only to discover that our elections are not transparent or verifiable. 

Yes, some stunt. Exercising my rights under the Florida constitution and statutes, only to be screwed when the ballots were destroyed. For my next stunt, I will go broke only to get the Supervisor to wrongly exclude my name from the November ballot.

I grew up in a time when public officials would be prosecuted and go to jail for what Snipes did in destroying all the paper ballots in our elections. Prosecutors would prosecute and the news media would report. There would have been a public outcry by public officials of both parties. So far, it has been largely swept under the rug and by both parties and the press. 

The Sun Sentinel further tries to justify its support of Snipes staying in office through 2020 by . . . politics. They don’t trust Republican Governor Rick Scott to replace her with a non-partisan Democrat, as they say former Governor Jeb Bush did when he replaced Miriam Oliphant, a previous Broward Elections Supervisor, with Snipes. The Sun Sentinel is incorrect, Snipes was a Republican who quickly changed her party to Democrat to adapt to blue Broward County. And then the Sun Sentinel concludes that Oliphant’s failures were worse than Snipes’, yet without ever bothering to make the case by discussing Oliphant’s failures. And it’s a ridiculous argument anyway, a bit like comparing a jewel thief with a bank robber, when neither should be acceptable. 

I am also not thrilled with the prospect of a Republican Governor naming a replacement for Snipes. But that’s not a good enough reason to keep someone with Snipes’ record in office for even one more election. And that’s why the Sun Sentinel has to give Snipes the benefit of the doubt and assume she just made a mistake. She deserves no such presumptions. Not only did Snipes illegally destroy the ballots and sign a destruction order certifying the ballots were not the subject of pending litigation when they were, she also destroyed evidence and concealed all of that for two full months, lying to me and my lawyer as we prepared for a ballot inspection that could never happen, and lying to the court. 

The Sun Sentinel did not discuss any of this, and it’s because they don’t like or trust Rick Scott. Well, that’s no reason to trust Brenda Snipes or the integrity of any election she has ever supervised. 

The Sun Sentinel editorial is entitled “Brenda Snipes’ Credibility Past Tipping Point.” If that’s the case -- and it is -- then no candidate who’s on the ballot in the August primary or November general election should have any confidence in her supervising their elections. If her credibility is past the tipping point, state and federal prosecutors should be investigating. Only a newspaper chain that doesn’t face voters or rely on fair elections could be so sanguine about keeping an elections supervisor in office for two more years of elections even though her criminal actions suggeat outright corruption. 

The Sun Sentinel concludes its apology for Snipes with high minded words, my words: “When we lose faith and confidence in the integrity of our elections, our entire democracy suffers.” 

The Sun Sentinel should know that our democracy also suffers when we lose faith and confidence in the integrity of the press to be neutral, non-partisan, impartial, unbiased. and free. 

Brenda Snipes must go, and now. Please read, sign and share our petition widely:  https://medium.com/…/the-election-justice-integrity-petitio…

Thank you for spreading the word..

#IntegrityIsEverything

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