First, it was Brenda Snipes, the Broward Co. elections chief who was suspended by Rick Scott and replaced with his top lawyer, Pete Antonacci, a shady rightwing Republican. Now, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis just suspended Susan Bucher, the Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections.
The suspension of Bucher seems to be completely for partisan reasons.
DeSantis named Wendy Link, another top Republican, as Susan Bucher’s replacement.
Two partisan Republicans have now been installed to replace elected Democrats in both of Florida’s largest Democratic counties to oversee the 2020 election.
This means the two puppet Republicans may:
- Determine where polling stations will (and won’t) be set up.
- Likely block the “implementing” of Amendment 4, which was supposed to be automatic. (A4 guarantees former felons the right to vote—which DeSantis has promised to stall)
With zero evidence, Donald Trump and Rick Scott declared there was massive fraud in Palm Beach and Broward counties because they were ensuring our votes were being counted. The fraud charge was called out by PolitiFact:
While there have clearly been problems in Broward, that’s not the same as actual fraud. It’s normal for counting the ballots to continue for days; under state law they had until noon Saturday following the election.
Snipes’ counterpart in Palm Beach, Susan Bucher, said in response to Scott’s comments:
"I think it's unfortunate that some of our highest elected leaders in the country are trying to impede our democracy because they don’t like the demographics of our voters. We are here to count ballots. We have to adhere to the laws. I would suspect that they really don't understand the process."
That completely accurate quote by Susan Bucher really ticked off a lot of Republicans, because it was absolutely true.
Trump and Scott both said the vote count should end and the election should just be handed to the GOP:
No ballots showed up “out of nowhere.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Rick Scott’s own election monitors both embarrassed Rick Scott by stating there was no fraud.
That didn’t stop Scott and Trump from saying it... Or stop white supremacists from protesting in Broward County.
DeSantis said he was primarily suspending Bucher for failing to complete the election count in a timely fashion. Bucher correctly pointed out that was due to the fact that her office lacked proper state funding and was forced to use slow-moving, outdated machines.
Likely, Bucher will appeal to the Florida Senate, which unfortunately is run by the GOP. However, since state election monitors were there all day, it will be interesting to see how they can say she did something sordid to warrant removal. This being Florida, and now that DeSantis is going to stack our Supreme Court, I don’t have high hopes that this power-grab will fail.
Bucher is very popular in Palm Beach County, and has been the elected Supervisor of Elections there for a decade. It is clear to me that since the GOP was able to replace Snipes with a lackey, DeSantis thought he could do that with Bucher as well.
This despite no legitimate reason:
It should be pointed out that the Bay County SOE allowed 150 people to vote by fax and email, which is not only illegal but was expressly spelled out as forbidden by an Executive Order by the former governor. I’m willing to bet if this hadn’t been a heavily GOP county, that the Bay County Election Chief would have found himself replaced by a lackey as well.
Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo released a statement:
"In the United States, our elections are sacred and our elections supervisors are democratically elected -- the Governor's recent power grab, removing Democrats from elected positions, including Susan Bucher, should be seen for what it is, a gross overreach and a politically motivated move to consolidate power and obstruct the will of the people."
Republicans never cease to amaze me the levels they will go to suppress votes, but I have to admit this is a new one. If this suspension stands, watch for the GOP to do repeats of this in other elections and in other states.