Besieged Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes won a legal battle against Florida’s former Gov. Rick Scott who effectively fired her, but she must now face his successor, Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has a long history of racism.
U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker on Wednesday ruled that Scott exceeded his authority when he suspended Snipes from office, the Miami Herald reported.
Walker took a swipe at Scott for his executive order to remove Snipes that he issued on Nov. 30—after the longtime public servant had already announced her resignation that would have taken effect on Jan. 4. The timing of Scott’s move prevented Snipes from challenging her ouster, which is usually done at a state Senate hearing.
“Judges face murky legal issues every day. Today is not one of those days. Flagrantly disregarding [Snipes’] constitutional rights fits into an unfortunate rhythm for Scott,” the judge wrote.
In his order, Scott accused Snipes, a Democrat, of misfeasance, incompetence and neglect of duty. Her county was ground zero for a host of problems in the 2018 midterm elections, including a tight senate race in which Scott, a Republican, was a candidate.
Snipes, 75, fought her suspension through a federal lawsuit against Scott and the state’s Senate President to get her job back.
In his ruling, Walker declined to reinstate Snipes, who held her post in the elections department for 15 years. He also rejected her request for a state Senate hearing to challenge her suspension. He ruled that her path to reinstatement requires a hearing before newly-elected GOP Gov. DeSantis.
DeSantis, like Scott, won a narrow election that involved botched vote counting by Snipes’ office.
Snipes was widely attacked by Republicans, including President Donald Trump, for her handling of the midterm election. Among the missteps, her office failed to report vote totals to the state every 45 minutes on election night, and the county’s recount process took much longer than most other counties. Snipes also acknowledged that her office had misplaced more than 2,000 ballots included in the original count.
There’s a lot more than her reputation riding on the outcome of Snipes’ hearing with DeSantis. If Scott’s suspension stands, Snipes would not receive her pension of $71,000 a year after 15 years of public service.