BROWARD COUNTY (CBSMiami) — Broward Elections Supervisor Dr. Brenda Snipes says recent revelations of convicted felons voting are isolated and she says people should have confidence in the process on Election Day.
Snipes said her office has purged 15,000 convicted felons from the rolls since 2009.
“We’ve done it accurately without any lawsuits, no challenges,” said Snipes. “It hasn’t happened.”
Five felons remained on the rolls despite a Broward Sheriff’s Office investigation in May that revealed they were not eligible to vote.
The five were identified as Ernest Nuby, Michael Mason, Gary Maxey, Joseph Burley and Frank Bellanger.
On Wednesday, just as absentee ballots were going out to the five, Snipes yanked the envelopes.
CBS4 tracked down Bellanger in Dania Beach to talk to him about what happened.
Bellanger explained that he had a minor marijuana conviction decades ago and it has haunted him ever since. He says when he applied for a homestead exemption back in 2002 there was a box that asked whether he was a convicted felon. He says fearing that the exemption wouldn’t be granted if he checked, ‘yes’, he says he checked ‘no.’ After that, he was on the voter rolls.
“I didn’t feel what I did 22 years ago has any bearing on today. I’ve been here twelve years and I pay $2800 a year in taxes,” said Bellanger.
Bellanger says he voted in the last two presidential elections, but since getting arrested for voter fraud recently, Bellanger says he has no desire to ever vote again.
He is surprised he escaped detection for as long as he did and thinks there should be some change at the top.
“The people that are there may be good education wise, but I see a lot of stuff that makes me wish I were back in the greater Northeast,” said Bellanger.
Dr. Snipes says there is a lag on information coming out of Tallahassee.
“I think if we could get information more quickly that would be a great service,” said Snipes.
Snipes also had a suggestion for families in South Florida.
“If you have a deceased family member let us know so we can remove that individual from the voter rolls,” she said.
The voter rolls have become a hot button issue in the upcoming general election with both Democrats and Republicans criticizing each other about potential voter fraud.