Broward elections chief seeks help with March primaries

The new elections supervisor has asked the county to help with new voting equipment.


Published: Sunday, February 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 1, 2004 at 12:23 a.m.
FORT LAUDERDALE - Broward County's new elections supervisor is asking the county for more than 1,000 government workers to assist with the March presidential primary.
Brenda Snipes, the retired school administrator who took the job when Gov. Jeb Bush suspended Miriam Oliphant last fall, said the employees would set up touch-screen voting machines, repair any computer problems and pick up the machines from each precinct after polls close on March 9.
Oliphant had turned down county assistance.
The army of workers would supplement the more than 5,000 volunteers who serve as clerks and deputies at the polls.
County officials said they're willing to help Snipes and are expected to vote on the request when they meet Tuesday. The county dispatched a similar army of workers to the November 2002 election, after that year's primary was plagued with problems that included uncounted ballots and polls that opened late and closed early.
"We've offered the supervisor of elections employees in the past to help, and this is in keeping with that practice," said County Commissioner John Rodstrom. "Over time we want to get out of this business, but we are working with new equipment and a new supervisor and have an obligation to make sure it goes well."
Snipes said she wants the office eventually to run elections without extra help, but said the assistance may be necessary for at least some of the major elections this year.
Oliphant's lawyer, John Contini, said the request is evidence that anyone running the elections operations needs assistance, and Oliphant did not mismanage the office. "It doesn't take a civics professor to see that all these moves are loud statements of admission that they underfunded Miriam Oliphant," he said.
Snipes said she'd pay the county workers $190 per day from Oliphant's budget, and would reimburse the Public Works Department for transporting the equipment.

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