Brenda Snipes, Rick Scott differ on voter rolls

Absentee ballots sent to 4 convicted felons in Broward County pulled, says Snipes

MIAMI - Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Broward Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes appear to disagree on who is responsible for removing ineligible voters from the rolls.

On Tuesday, when absentee ballots were mailed out in Broward County, Snipes said she relied on the state government to tell her who needed to be removed from the voter rolls.

"If I don't get documentation from the Division of Election, which is the process, then I could not remove your names from the list," said Snipes.

As Local 10 reported last week, five convicted felons and a dead woman voted absentee in a Dania Beach election in 2011. The Broward Sheriff's Office investigated and passed their findings onto Snipes.

But those ineligible voters remained in the rolls. Some voted in the Florida primary election two months ago.

According to the state, when the investigation finished, Snipes could have started the removal process herself but didn't, instead waiting for notification from the state -- which hasn't come.

"A supervisor of elections doesn't have to wait for notice from the state to act on felony conviction information about a registered voter," said Chris Cate, a spokesman for the Secretary of State. "If the supervisor gets information from another credible and reliable source such as a Sheriff's Office, the supervisor can open a file and initiate notice and removal procedures."

Cate said once the Broward County Sheriff's Office completed its investigation into these five individuals and found that they were all convicted felons, Snipes could have used their findings to begin the removal process.

"I want the viewers to know that these voters are a small number of voters in the ones that we have timely and accurately processed in the past," said Snipes. "I chose the process that we have used in all these other cases."

Snipes added that she has always waited for information from the state first and has removed close to 15,000 convicted felons from Broward's voter rolls since 2006.

"I don't want anyone to think we haven't been doing anything," said Snipes.

At a news conference in Miami where he announced a new Univision/ABC television news network, Scott said the supervisors of elections are responsible for removing voters from the rolls.

"The Secretary of State's Office is working with Supervisor of Elections (Snipes), but the supervisor of elections are responsible for there local voter rolls. They are the ones responsible," said Scott.

On Tuesday, Local 10 reported four of the five felons who had previously voted received absentee ballots, according to the Broward Supervisor of Elections' website. But Snipes said Wednesday that their ballots were pulled to being the process of pulling the felons off the voter rolls for good.

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