Ellen Brodsky's Attempt at Peaceful Observation of Ballot Counting, Led to Overnight Detention in Broward County Jail, Apparently Orchestrated by Election Opponent...
By Brad Friedman on 12/9/2008, 12:33pm PT  

Last month we reported the story of the arrest of Broward County, FL, election integrity advocate and independent candidate for Supervisor of Elections, Ellen Brodsky. She was handcuffed and arrested, according to the police report, for "disorderly conduct" and "trespass/structure or conveyance" while trying to observe post-election ballot counting and canvassing procedures in the county.

After her arrest, orchestrated by her opponent, Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes, Brodsky was held overnight in the county jail until 5:45am the next morning, despite her son having posted bail for her --- a grand total of $25 --- at 8:30pm the night before.

Brodksy has an impressive record of finding serious problems with counting and election procedures in Broward County, which undoubtedly helped foster the animus from her opponent Snipes. Shamefully, as we pointed out in our original coverage, Brodsky is only the latest in a string of EI advocates around the country who have been arrested recently while trying to peacefully carry out public observation of our public elections.

Here now is the video tape of the incident that results in her arrest, as captured on a small flip camera provided by election watchdog organization VideoTheVote.org. The man seen on the phone, at the beginning of the tape, calling the police, is Snipes' deputy Fred Bellis. It's clear that Bellis, in cahoots with Snipes --- again, Snipes was Brodsky's election opponent --- clearly seems to have been choreographing the entire arrest.

As you'll see in the video below, the fact that she was arrested at all, much less for "disorderly conduct," is absolutely incredible and clearly without merit. Our original report offered a great deal of background and context, as well as comments from Brodsky and a number of both EI advocates and a state election official from a different county who have all worked with her. They all, almost uniformly, described the turn of events at the time as "outrageous" and an "abuse of power."

Here's the video. You decide...


In addition to our original coverage of the sorry affair, please see the Broward-Palm Beach New Times article, headlined "Banana Republic," which offers still more details on the shameful behavior of Snipes and Bellis. They also report that Brodsky may well be due a lot of money in a civil suit against the county. We can only hope so!

The supposedly-Democratic Snipes was, unsurprisingly enough, appointed by Florida's former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush for some reason. Go figure.

UPDATE 12/17/08: It's been more than a month following the arrest, and still no formal charges have been filed against Brodsky. Details in an update now here...

UPDATE 3/11/09: All charges are dropped against Brodsky. Details now here...

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