The Republican Party Of Florida filed a lawsuit against Broward Supervisor Of Elections Brenda Snipes over vote by mail issues during the November election. The lawsuit, filed late Friday in Broward County Circuit Court, alleges Snipes’ office did not follow proper procedures in the canvassing of vote by mail ballots.

The lawsuit states most large county canvassing board convened on October 24, 2016 to canvass the vote by mail ballots. The suit alleges Broward did not convene its canvassing board until November 7, 2016, one day before the election. 

The lawsuit alleges Snipes failed to “safely keep” vote by mail ballots “unopened” until November 7th by allowing Broward SOE staffers to open ballots, remove them from their mailing envelopes, and remove the ballots from their secrecy envelopes before they were canvassed by the Broward County canvassing board.

The RPOF lawsuit claims Snipes “authorized her staff to process and electronically tabulate marked vote by mail ballots before they were canvassed by the Broward County canvassing board” which deprived the RPOF and its members and candidates of their statutory right to challenge any vote by mail ballot believed to be illegal.

When RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia complained to Snipes, she allowed a Republican Party member to observe the process. But Snipes refused to “alter her office’s practice of opening and processing” ballots before they are reviewed by the canvassing board. 

The RPOF is seeking a declaratory judgment as well as temporary and permanent injunctive relief. The Party wants a Broward Judge to declare  Snipes “has no legal authority” to open vote by mail ballots before they are canvassed by the Broward County Canvassing Board. Also, the RPOF wants Snipes to safely keep all ballots unopened in her office until they are canvassed by the Broward County Canvassing Board.

The RPOF wants a judge to declare the RPOF has a right to to review a vote by mail affidavit for defects before the ballot is removed from the envelope and the Party, members and candidates have right to file a protest before the ballot is removed from the envelope.

The lawsuit was filed by Daniel Nordby, an attorney with Shutts & Bowen. Read the lawsuit here.

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