Dead People May Be Registered to Vote in Broward

The American Civil Rights Union, a conservative group, says census data proves more people are eligible to vote in Broward County this November than are currently alive. "The result could be people inadvertently voting who are not registered to vote," says Joseph Vanderhulst, an attorney with the Public Interest Legal Foundation representing the ACRU. "It undermines the integrity of the entire election."

The ACRU and Andrea Belitto, a Broward resident, are suing Broward supervisor of elections Brenda Snipes in federal district court for violating section 8 of the National Voting Rights Act. They accuse her of not doing enough to ensure that dead people, people who have moved, and noncitizens are taken off the voter rolls. They aim to force Snipes "to conduct and execute reasonable voter list maintenance programs," according to the complaint.

"[Snipes's] failure to undertake reasonable efforts to remove ineligible voters from Broward County voter rolls places [Andrea] Belitto's vote at risk of dilution," the lawsuit states. "[Snipes] is responsible for allowing this circumstance to occur and persist."

A spokesperson tells New Times Snipes "has not had the time to review the lawsuit with her attorneys." In a February response to the notice letter, Snipes' attorneys stated Broward County "adheres strictly" to the voter list maintenance programs and that it is "implausible" that there are too many people on the rolls.
The complaint states that in 2014, 103 percent of voting-age citizens were eligible to vote in Broward for the general election. In 2010, approximately 106 percent of the population was registered to vote.

"I wouldn't want to comment or speculate on corruption or anything like that," Vanderhulst says, "but based on those numbers, there’s got to be a problem that the public needs addressed."

Broward County isn’t the only district being sued by the ACRU for corrupt voter rolls. Vanderhulst says the ACRU has filed similar lawsuits in Mississippi and Texas. In a settlement last year, Mississippi’s Clarke County was ordered to remove ineligible voters before the 2016 election.

The lawsuit alleges Snipes was provided with the proper information of people who had died or no longer live at the address listed on their registration and did not take actions to remove them. In one claim, Snipes is accused of receiving information about more than 200 registered voters in Coconut Creek who had died or moved away.

Snipes was appointed in 2003 by Gov. Jeb Bush. She was elected in 2004, 2008, and 2012. She is facing re-election this November. In the past, Snipes has been praised for registering more than 50,000 high school and college students. 
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Jess Swanson is a staff writer at New Times. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Communication and wrote briefly for the student newspaper until realizing her true calling: pissing off fraternity brothers by reporting about their parties on her crime blog. Especially gifted in jumping rope and solving Rubik’s cubes, she also holds the title for longest stint as an unpaid intern in New Times history. She left the Magic City for New York to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she spent a year profiling circumcised men who were trying to regrow their foreskins for a story that ultimately won the John Horgan Award for Critical Science Journalism. Terrified by pizza rats and arctic temperatures, she quickly returned to her natural habitat.
Contact: Jess Swanson