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Broward Elections Supervisor Snipes mixed illegal ballots with valid ones waiting to be added

Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda C. Snipes speaks to the media about a plan to mail replacement ballots to voters in Oct. 28, 2004, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Broward County has been beset with problems when it comes to elections. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Broward County Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes, subject of intense scrutiny and a lawsuit filed by Gov. Rick Scott and Republicans over the counting of ballots, mixed about 200 rejected ballots in with ballots that had been accepted as valid, the Miami-Herald reported late Friday night. It is the latest irregularity in the contentious battle over ballots in the Senate race between Scott and incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson.

On Friday, a judge ruled against Snipes and in favor of Rick Scott, and ordered her, and the county, to immediately allow inspection of voter records, which Snipes had been withholding.

After presenting for inspection 205 provisional ballots to the Broward County canvassing board, it was discovered that 20 ballots with mismatched signatures that had already been deemed invalid and were illegal votes were mixed in with valid ballots. They were integrated into a stack of legal ballots awaiting being added to the vote totals in the tight race.

The Miami-Herald reports that Snipes, when confronted over the ballots by lawyers for the Republican, confirmed that "the ballots cannot be identified."

On whether the 205 ballots would still be counted, Snipes did not answer. The county must present the unofficial vote total by noon on Saturday. At close of Friday night's session the fate of the mixed ballots remained undetermined. Scott's lead is currently .18%, as of Friday night, fewer than 15,000 votes, and below the margin of victory for a legally-mandated recount.

The vote totals under Snipes supervision have changed several times this week. The total number of was 708,974 ballots at first report. On Wednesday, the Broward board changed the number of ballots case to 716,209. On Friday, 717,187.

This is not the first time Snipes has been involved in an elections controversy. including another judge ruling against her and the county over destroyed ballots in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s 2016 Democratic primary race.

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