Angry and Confused: Protestors gather outside Broward Supervisor of Elections office

By: Gerard Albert III and Joshua Ceballos/PantherNOW Staff

Broward County-

Supporters of Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott camped outside the Broward Supervisor of Elections office Monday, Nov. 12, from morning to night, demanding more from the officials inside, specifically Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes.

The memory of Broward’s disastrous 2000 presidential election was still fresh in the minds of protestors, and now under Florida law; Statewide contests decided by a half a percentage point or less must be recounted.

The race for Senate between Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Rick Scott, Governor between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron Desantis and Agricultural Commissioner between Democrat Nikki Fried and Republican Matt Caldwell are all headed for a recount.

Protestors have been planted outside Snipes’ office since Saturday, many calling for her resignation as she works with her staff to sort and count more than 700,000 ballots.

A man holds a child and looks on at protestors huddled around a live news broadcast. (Gerard Albert III/PantherNOW Staff)

Scott Siegel is an Air Force Veteran. He was out protesting started protesting from 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, together with his seeing-eye dog Tony.

“We want to make sure the american people know that we need to have free elections where every legitimate citizen’s vote is counted only one time,” Siegel said.

Siegel is tired of the corruption in politics and the lack of transparency when it comes to ballots disappearing and then magically showing up.

“We wouldn’t need recounts if things had been done properly,” he said.

When it comes to a recount, he said he will support whoever wins.

Protestors set up campaign signs, flags and skeletons to get their message across. (Gerard Albert III/PantherNOW Staff)

Sofia Manolesco had been protesting for four days by Monday, and she made no secret of her dislike for Broward County Elections Supervisor, Brenda Snipes.

“We had a lot of problems in this county with Brenda Snipes in the past. Destroying ballots and doing nefarious things during elections. We’re not surprised that there are problems this time around,” said Manolesco while holding a sign that read “Brenda Snipes = Systemic Sabotage.”

Manolesco claimed that the people dealing with the voting were not properly trained or did not care enough for a fair process, and that is the fault of Snipes.

“We are calling for Snipes to step down,” she said.

Manolesco said the controversy is bad for people from both political parties and that she has had peaceful conversations with Gillum supporters as well.

“They keep pulling in with ballots and boxes,” she said, pointing to delivery trucks pulling into the loading dock of the office building, allegedly carrying new ballots. “With this kind of activity, we don’t know how many more ballots are coming in and how many have been tampered with. How do we know who’s verifying all of this?”

Manolesco holds her sign up criticizing Brenda Snipes, Supervisor of Elections in Broward County. (Gerard Albert III/PantherNOW Staff)

Matthew Hamburger, registered Independent, said that he’s lived in Broward County for his entire life, and recent events, like the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February 2018 which left 17 dead and 17 injured, and now the voting scandal, have inspired him to get more involved.

“I went to Stoneman Douglas. This year has been a reason to get my eyes on what’s going on locally, and it’s just more and more nauseating. That’s why I’m here,” Hamburger said.

During the protest, several attendees found plastic tags with serial numbers strewn about on the ground outside the delivery trucks in the office parking lot. They allege that these were ballot tags, which belong in the secure boxes with the ballots, and that their presence on the floor outside indicates that ballots were tampered with.

A man holds up ballot box tabs that protestors allege were “evidence of corruption” because they were found outside the Supervisor of Elections office. (Gerard Albert III/PantherNOW Staff)

Benjamin Bennett, private investigator for Florida Investigative Intelligence Agency, said that he’s been investigating government corruption for years, and that these tags being outside is just another thing about this election that makes no sense.

“These tags do not belong in the parking lot, they belong in the secure building in the boxes. Their [the election employees’] defense is that they’re using these tabs to close the trucks where the locks are supposed to be,” said Bennett. That’s completely untrue. I’ve seen these for 15 years. These secure ballot boxes, not trucks.”

Around 6 p.m. Florida State Senator Gary Farmer, a Democrat, spoke to some protestors explaining the sorting process to them but also telling them that the recount has not yet started.

The sorting process requires the removal of the first page of the ballot, which contains the votes for the races in question. After all of the pages are removed they will be fed through the machines allowing for a quicker recount according to Farmer.

The state mandated deadline to hand in the results is Thursday at 3 p.m., something Snipes told media she has no doubt they will meet.

A woman holds up a ballot box tab that she said were scattered around the parking lot. (Gerard Albert III/PantherNOW Staff)

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