A temporary worker for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office in Florida has alleged in a sworn affidavit obtained by Newsmax that she was fired this week after witnessing possible absentee ballot fraud by office workers.
But the State Attorney's Office concluded Friday that the workers were duplicating ballots by hand from damaged originals faxed by military personnel and that "there is nothing improper or illegal about the conduct" under state law.
"We were understandably alarmed about what she witnessed," Bob Nichols, a Fort Lauderdale attorney, told Newsmax in an interview.
Nichols is general counsel for the Broward Republican Executive Committee, which learned of the allegations on Thursday. He interviewed the former employee and reported the matter that day to the state attorney.
"Our goal is to assure that all of the election rules are properly followed," he told Newsmax. "We want a fair election for everyone."
According to the affidavit, the former employee alleged that on Monday about 8:30 p.m. she had been told to take a stack of absentee ballot forms to what is known as the Pitney-Bowes Room at the Supervisor of Elections (SOE) office in Lauderhill, Fla.
Through the locked door's window, she saw four workers sitting at a table in the room with "stacks of documents and writing something," according to the affidavit.
She knocked on the door — and an SOE worker opened the door, took the stack from her "and closed the door," she alleged. "The employee seemed very rushed."
When the former employee returned a short time later with a second stack, the woman was allowed into the room.
"I could see the four SOE employees sitting at the same table actively filling out election ballots," she said in the affidavit. Each worker "had a stack of blank ballots to the right of them … and a stack of completed ballots to their left."
Every completed stack contained "perhaps a dozen" ballots, she claimed.
The four workers also were "using the same black pens … that the SOE supplies to voters at polling places.
"I was then told to leave the room by one of the employees at the table," she said in the affidavit.
The former employee said that she did not initially report what she had seen "to anyone at the SOE because of fear of retaliation."
However, after returning from lunch about 12:30 p.m. the following day, the woman alleged that she was "met by a uniformed security guard at the SOE entrance and told that I had been terminated.
"I was given no explanation for this action," the former employee said.
Nichols told Newsmax that "I consider what she said in the affidavit to be very credible. She saw what she saw."
His office took the woman's statement Thursday and reported it to the State Attorney's Office in Fort Lauderdale.
In a preliminary memorandum provided to Newsmax late Friday, Assistant State Attorney Timothy Donnelly said that office personnel met with Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes earlier Friday at her office.
Donnelly is head of the office's special prosecutions and public corruption unit.
Snipes told investigators that the former employee most likely observed the four SOE workers filling out duplicates of faxed originals from military personnel.
Under Florida law, Snipes said that "true duplicate" copies of physically damaged vote-by-mail ballots can be made by SOE personnel.
"Since the ballots are on fax paper and not the same size as the ballots that are tabulated by the machines, the statue allows a duplicate ballot to be made so that it can be tabulated by the automated machines," Donnelly wrote.
"The faxed ballots are preserved and kept available for inspection."
Donnelly concluded that "it appears preliminarily that [the former employee] accurately reported the conduct that she observed at the Elections Office, but that there is nothing illegal or improper about the conduct."
His memorandum did not speak to the woman's alleged termination.
Nichols told Newsmax that while he accepted Donnelly's preliminary findings, he "absolutely" had concerns about them.
"The witnesses' recollection was that all of the documents on the table were the same size," he said. "The affidavit says that all of the documents were the same size.
"The explanation that they were creating duplicates from faxes, and that the faxes were on different-sized papers, does not comport with what this person saw.
"What Dr. Snipes says does not seem to match what is contained in the affidavit," Nichols told Newsmax, "but, again, that's up to the State Attorney's office to figure out."
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