On Thursday, a lawyer for Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes fought mightily to keep non-Democrats from voting in the Broward Commission District 2 primary. Burnadette Norris-Weeks gave Judge Sandra Perlman a myriad of excuses of why it was too late to open the August 26 primary to Republican and Independent voters. On June 20th, the final day of qualifying, a write-in candidate filed for the District 2 race. The presence of a write-candidate closed the primary to non-Democrats.
On June 23, RED BROWARD broke the news that District 2 write-in candidate Tyron Francois did not live in the district. Florida Statute 99.0615 states, “At the time of qualification, all write-in candidates must reside within the district represented by the office sought.” In campaign paperwork filed with Snipes’ office, the 25 year-old Democrat listed his address as 4019 NW 37th Terrace in Lauderdale Lakes. This address is not within the boundaries of District 2. According to the Broward Supervisor of Elections(SOE) website, Francois lives in County Commission District 9, a seat currently held by Dale Holness. Francois is registered to vote at this Lauderdale Lakes address. Many political insiders believe Holness played some role in Francois’ candidacy.
Last April, RED BROWARD reported Holness was supporting community activist Carmen Jones in the District 2 race. “Carmen would be an excellent County Commissioner, as a product of north Broward with more than 20 years of fighting for community issues,” said County Commissioner Dale Holness, who has already endorsed Jones. “She has deep roots in Pompano Beach and Deerfield with her family roots dating back to the 1930s and she will be a great asset working for the people of Broward County.” Buddy Nevins of BrowardBeat.com wrote the Jones candidacy is “more proof that County Commissioner Dale Holness wants to be King of Broward County government.” A Democrat insider told Nevins that Holness “wants to be the Go-To Guy in Broward. He wants the developers coming to him.”
Snipes’ attorney Burnadette Norris-Weeks is a supporter of Dale Holness. In October 2012, she made a $500 contribution to Holness’ re-election campaign. Weeks later Holness was a guest at Norris-Weeks “holiday party.” RED BROWARD obtained pictures of the party Norris-Weeks posted on Facebook.
On Thursday, Norris-Weeks took the lead role in fighting to keep the primary closed. She continually interrupted William Scherer, attorney for the plaintiffs. Robert Vaughan, Francois’ attorney, repeatedly deferred to Norris-Weeks.
Norris-Weeks told the court she was unprepared to present any legal argument or evidence at Thursday’s hearing. She claimed the hearing was simply a hearing to schedule a future hearing. Judge Perlman stated she was prepared to hear evidence and offered to give Norris-Weeks time to confer with Snipes. Norris-Weeks said Snipes was out of town. When asked if she discussed case with Snipes, Norris-Weeks claimed that was privileged information.
Norris-Weeks never told Judge Perlman that she addressed the same exact write-candidate issue just three days earlier in a Leon County courtroom. In that case, a Coconut Creek voter is seeking the removal of write-in candidate Ronald L. Bray from the Florida House District 96 race. Bray admits he does not live in District 96. RED BROWARD revealed Bray was a former campaign aide for Broward Commissioner Kristin Jacobs. She is a Democrat candidate in the District 96 race.
Snipes is named defendant in the Bray case. Leon County Court records list Norris-Weeks as the attorney for Snipes. She filed a motion to appear telephonically at the July 7th hearing. On July 7th, Norris-Weeks filed a response to motion for a preliminary injunction in the Bray case. On July 8th, she filed Snipes’ answer to the lawsuit.
Same issue. Similar facts. Same county. Norris-Weeks could have easily made same case to Judge Perlman. Instead, she fought for more delays. She told the Judge there was no need for an emergency hearing because an emergency no longer exists; It’s too late because ballots have been printed.
After the hearing, RED BROWARD asked Norris-Weeks about the Bray case. She refused to even acknowledge she participated in the Bray case.
*UPDATE* Burndatte Norris Weeks states another attorney handled the Bray case