Secretary of state calls early release of Broward County election results 'unacceptable'

Broward County elections website displays results before polling locations close

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Florida's secretary of state called the early release of Broward County election results on its website "unacceptable" and has forwarded the breach to state officials.

Brenda Snipes won her fourth term Tuesday night as supervisor of elections in Broward County, but her win over David Brown was quickly overshadowed when the election results were posted on the internet about a half-hour before polling locations closed at 7 p.m.

State law requires election supervisors to wait until polling locations have closed to publish results. It is a third-degree felony to release election results before that time.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner sent a letter to Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz asking for an investigation "to determine whether further legal action is appropriate."

A spokeswoman for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office told Local 10 News that an employee with the software company that maintains the election results mistakenly posted a preview link to the website, making it visible to the public.

The vendor, VR Systems, took responsibility for the error.

"In the process of providing technical assistance to the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office, VR Systems created a link on the supervisor's website that unintentionally made Broward County early voting and absentee ballot results public at 6:30 p.m.," company president and chief executive officer Mindy Perkins said in a statement. "VR Systems assumes responsibility for this error, which is not in keeping with our service and performance standards. While we already have stringent measures in place to protect against errors, we are taking additional measures that include an extensive review of our procedures and technology to ensure that this never occurs again."

Detzner has also asked the Broward Sheriff's Office to investigate.

About the Authors:

Peter Burke returned for a second stint of duty at Local 10 News in February 2014.