stepupflyer2In 2012, the attorney for Broward Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Brenda Snipes teamed up with Congressman Alcee Hastings, Rev. Al Sharpton, convicted Commissioner Joe Eggelletion and other Democrats for a get out the vote (GOTV) program dubbed “Operation: Big Vote.” Last month, REDBROWARD exposed Burnadette Norris-Weeks’ role in the November 3, 2012 “Step Up To The Polls” rally. Norris-Weeks event, along with a Pompano Beach rally featuring Rev. Al Sharpton and a “Souls To The Polls” march of churchgoers were used to boost turn out among Broward’s predominantly Democrat African American voters.

Broward Supervior of Elections Brenda Snipes has come under fire for the political activities of her private contract lawyer. Snipes told Broward County Commissioners she was unaware of Norris-Weeks support of a candidate in the County Commission District 2 race last year. Norris-Weeks represented Snipes in legal matters involving the District 2 race.

REDBROWARD reported how Congressman Hastings and a former South Florida Sun-Sentinel senior editorial writer touted Norris-Weeks’ 2012 rally.

In an October 2012 Westside Gazette article, Hastings wrote, “I tried to get a current list of all of the African American organizations in Broward County.  Nobody, I mean nobody, is working from a list that has all the names and leaders of every organization in Broward. That’s ridiculous people.”

Hastings continued, “Enter Step Up to the Polls, the brainchild of Burnadette Norris-Weeks and her law partner.  They have pulled together what I believe will be the most effective effort of an African American led effort this election season.  I am following their leadership, and I encourage you to do the same.”

One week later, Sun-Sentinel Editorial Writer Douglas Lyons praised Norris Weeks’ work to get President Obama re-elected. Lyons wrote, “Even better, other black professionals and organizations have organized similar efforts. Take today’s early morning “Steps to the Polls,” a march from downtown Fort Lauderdale to one of the early voting polling sites at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center…spearheaded by prominent attorney Burnadette Norris Weeks, is just one of several last-minute attempts to rally the faithful to take advantage of early voting and tip the scales of a razor-thin race in Florida to the president’s advantage.”

Operation: Big Vote and Step Up To The Polls claimed to be non-partisan movements, but Lyons clearly was not buying their claims. Lyons’ wife was the tresurer for Norris-Weeks’ political committee known as “The Right Group.”

REDBROWARD obtained photographs of the 2012 Step Up To The Polls rally featuring a who’s who of local Democrat politicians and candidates. Participants marched from Norris-Weeks’ offices down Sistrunk Boulevard to the early voting location at the African American Research Library. Norris-Weeks stood next to Congressman Hastings behind a large “Step Up To The Polls” banner.

Burnadette Norris-Weeks marches with Alcee Hastings
Burnadette Norris-Weeks marches with Alcee Hastings

Other photographs from Operation Big Vote planning sessions show Senator Bill Nelson meeting with convicted former County Commissioner Joe Eggelletion. The photograph was taken just months after Eggelletion’s release from Federal prison.

Joe Eggelletion, seated on Sen. Bill Nelson's left, listens to Operation Big Vote planners
Joe Eggelletion, seated on Sen. Bill Nelson’s left, listens to Operation Big Vote planners
Eggelletion addresses Sen. Nelson and Operation Big Vote planners
Eggelletion addresses Sen. Nelson and Operation Big Vote planners
Eggelletion sporting an Operation Big Vote t-shirt at an October 2012 rally
Eggelletion sporting an Operation Big Vote t-shirt at an October 2012 rally
Rev. Al Sharpton & Alcee Hastings attend an Operation Big Vote rally in Pompano Beach
Rev. Al Sharpton & Alcee Hastings attend an Operation Big Vote rally in Pompano Beach

Once again, Norris-Weeks’ political activities and close associations with politicians such as Hastings, Eggelletion and Dale Holness raise troubling questions for Dr. Brenda Snipes.

Was Dr. Snipes aware of the “Step Up To The Polls” rally?

What would happen if elections issues were raised by rally? Would Snipes consult Norris-Weeks?

Have any elections issues been raised regarding any of the participants of Operation Big Vote?

Were ANY Broward Supervisor of Elections Office resources/ employees/ data used for Operation Big Vote, Souls To The Polls or Step Up To The Polls?

Did any Broward SOE officials or employees attend these rallies?

Broward voters deserve answers from Dr. Snipes.

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