Canova, the 2016 Democratic primary challenger for Rep.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, speaks out on 'The Next
Florida Circuit judge ruled Friday that that the state’s second-most
populous county violated state and federal laws by destroying
ballots from a 2016 Democratic primary race which Rep. Debbie
Wasserman Schultz won.
Judge Raag Singhal decided that the records were wrongly destroyed
because the laws require elections offices to keep the ballots in
federal elections for 22 months. Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes
destroyed the ballots just after 12 months, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
judge also noted that because the ballots were subject to a lawsuit,
only a court order should have allowed their destruction.
“has not presented any evidence refuting that the public records
sought were destroyed while this case was pending before this
court,” Singhal said.
Florida Circuit judge ruled Friday that that the state’s
second-most populous county violated state and federal laws by
destroying ballots from a 2016 Democratic primary race which
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz won. (AP)
Rick Scott’s administration announced shortly after the ruling that
Florida’s Department of State will send election experts to the
Broward elections office in the next election to “to ensure that all
laws are followed.”
predecessor was fired from the elections office by former Gov. Jeb
Bush and the Florida Senate after failing to ensure a smooth
election process in the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary,
according to Politico.
lawsuit was brought by Tim Canova, the defeated Democratic primary
candidate who sued the elections office after seeking to check for
voting irregularities. He lost the primary race by nearly 7,000
votes to Wasserman Schultz, the former chair of the Democratic
who will be challenging the congresswoman again this year as an
Independent, sought the paper ballots in March 2017, but was
forced to sue three months later after he said Snipes failed to
comply with the request and wanted to charge $72,000 to sort and
produce the records, Politico reported.
testified that the push to destroy the ballots, which she did in
September, was a “mistake,” adding that the boxes were mislabeled.
She said “nothing on my part that was intentional.”
the judge dismissed the argument, saying “Defendant's lack of intent
to destroy evidence while this case was pending is irrelevant.”
attorney for Snipes, Burnadette Norris-Weeks, said she will appeal
the decision because the elections office never declined to provide
the ballots to Canova, only objected to unreasonable demands.
was a mistake [destroying the original ballots], but the ballots
were preserved,” Norris-Weeks told the Sun-Sentinel. “They were
scanned shortly after the election.”
is now pushing for Snipes to lose her job.
think dismissal is an appropriate remedy,” Canova told the