A Florida judge ruled last week that county officials violated federal regulations and illegally destroyed ballots from a 2016 primary race won by Debbie Wasserman Schultz; adding guidelines require the votes be kept for at least 22 months after an election.
“Circuit 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,” writes Fox News.
“[The supervisor] has not presented any evidence refuting that the public records sought were destroyed while this case was pending before this court,” said the judge.
The initial lawsuit was filed by Tim Canova, Schultz’ opponent who urged the county to examine “voter irregularities” during the primary season.
He lost to Schultz by just 7,000 votes.
Florida Governor Rick Scott announced this week that his administration will deploy “election experts” to Broward County during the 2018 midterm elections to “ensure that all laws are followed.”
The 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 National Committee.
Canova, 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.
Snipes 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.”
But the judge dismissed the argument, saying “Defendant’s lack of intent to destroy evidence while this case was pending is irrelevant.”
H/T Fox News