For six hours, Broward County blocked entry of two GOP recount reps

by | Nov 11, 2018

As elections sites across Florida began machine recounts of millions of ballots Sunday morning, Broward County did so without at least two Republican observers authorized to enter the building by the Matt Caldwell campaign. Caldwell is the Republican nominee for Agriculture Commissioner. On election night, with only three Broward County precincts not reporting vote totals, he led Democrat Nikki Fried by 40,000 votes. Those outstanding precincts contained less than 33,000 registered voters. More than 80,000 ballots were added by Broward County after Election Day.

Republican state committeewoman Michele Merrell and Collin Thompson say they waited patiently outside the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office for several hours trying to gain access as observers for Caldwell, who now trails Fried by just 5,326 votes. Merrell says she and Thompson managed to gain entry to an outer area several times but were repeatedly turned away by SOE staffers who offered a range of reasons for why they couldn’t be let in.

On her fourth try, Merrell says she passed through three security checkpoints before another Broward SOE staffer stopped her and ordered her out of the building based on his belief that she was a “paid political protester” who had arrived from out of town at the behest of President Trump.

Merrell lives and votes in Broward County.

Fred Bellis, Operations Supervisor for Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes, says he was unaware of the issue until he learned about it from The Capitolist and said he would work to rectify the problem.

But after having been on site since 9 a.m. trying to gain access, Merrell says she had a 4pm appointment and needed to be elsewhere on Sunday evening.

“It’s just ridiculous that I am being unfairly punished for being a Republican. I witnessed first hand Democrats walk into the Broward SOE with unfettered access, yet I wasn’t able to,” Merrell said. “I followed the rules and procedures. I was polite and respectful. I was on the pre-approved list from the State SOE to be in there, and yet Brenda Snipes gets to play by her own rules. This is not how a democracy is supposed to work.”

At around 3:40pm, Thompson says he made contact with Bellis, who made arrangements for him him into the building.


  1. Mary

    This IS disgraceful. We the people of FL are tired of the consistent deceit by the Democrats. Forget recounting. Once any level of deceit is found by the Democrats their candidate should automatically lose the election

    • Randall Tuura

      I like that. Commit fraud and you lose the election. Simple. If only it could be that simple. We’re dealing with Democrats here.

    • Carl

      Yes, and they should all go to jail. (Actually, I’d prefer to see them hanged, but, unf, that is unlikely to happen when they are allowed to get away with this bullshit for days without even being arrested.)

    • Sharon Harrah-Hale


    • Shannon Simon

      Floridians better unify & get out there for your voice to be heard! Better not relent! This is wrong & youre beijg discredited.

    • Michael Shatto

      ***** Proof Of Republican Stupidity *****

      Democrats Did It Before so any Republican, especially a Conservative one, should know that Democrats would do what they are doing now and should have prepared!

      There is very little difference between the Democrat attitude about Republicans and Yasser Arafat and Israel; Elimination and Eradication.

    • Luis

      Mary : I agree with you 100 %.

  2. Randall Tuura

    The title of your website, “Capitolist” is misspelled. No such word. It’s “Capitalist” – with an A.

    • Lori Williams

      Perhaps CapitOlist refers to the capitol. Not capital. Probably best not to try your hand at being a spelling Nazi.

      • Sharon Harrah-Hale


  3. Anonymous

    Where the hell is our law enforcement?

  4. Luis

    What are we doing with this pallets of Ballots in a truck from Broward County ?
    Why they were not turn in on time ?
    Is this another democratic plan to take over our elections in Florida….?
    Bill Nelson and his democratic party must follow the rules of the state of Florida. He is been our senator for to long is time for a change.!

  5. Linda Smethwick

    If they were not letting republicans in to help count the votes you can bet they were cheating again. Where were the police, & why was there no one from the Republican Party trying to get the republicans in t help count the votes? Why didn’t the governor disqualify Snipes as she has been caught cheating for years. Looks like the Republican Party gets more spineless every day.

    • Diana L Taub

      There are Republicans inside to watch the recount, which is the ballots going through the machines. There are reps from RNC and attorneys for each candidate in the room. The meetings are actually suppose to be public so if there is not enough room for observers they should have a screen outside and/or put it on a public television station. If there is a list of approved re count observers then that should be published to the public as well. It is true that on Friday, November 9th there were Republican attorneys but no local Republican Party leaders. Democrat attorneys were also there along with Cynthia Bush, Dem Chair and Mitch Cesar, past Chair as well as a few other people that worked in their offices. Dale Holiness was there wearing his Gillum shirt until I alerted them to the fact that I had to turn my Rick Scott shirt inside out. He was then asked to do the same.

  6. Tom

    Reeks of something other than dead fish and algae. Not totally sure of what except that total desperation is at work here with the recount. A likely conspiracy was not essential for its commencement, but slights of hands in a coincidental manner. An obvious yet obscure act of desperation no doubt.

  7. Lou J

    I think they should have used armed guards to storm her office to secure the ballots until a true secure visible plan existed.

  8. PEGGY

    Total disgrace.
    Supervisor of election should have not have been
    There period for the recount because of her track record.
    Check her bank record, follow the money to
    Find the person that is behind this mess.

  9. Joseph Blosch

    The Democrats are openly stealing the election. They are pure scum.

  10. Robert

    The Demo RATS are trying these systems so they know what to prepare for 2020 election. These RATS will do what they find works best. This system worked in Arizona for them. Finding magical ballots seems to,be there best way.

  11. MK HILL

    It’s a coup.

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