Miriam Oliphant- You're getting what you deserved
The Sun-Sentinel reports that former Broward County Elections Supervisor Miriam Oliphant was fined $10,000 by the Florida Elections commission. The commission charges that Miriam Oliphant neglected her duties during a 2002 primary election. Ms. Oliphant is currently out of office.
Oliphant's attorney is crying that the charges are unfair and that Ms. Oliphant is currently out of work and therefore can't pay the fine. She's out of work because Governor Bush had to remove Ms. Oliphant from office for incompetence. The woman was a joke, polls that closed early, opened late, misappropriation of taxpayer money, nepotism and many other abuses. Miriam Oliphant brought this fine upon herself. She was a disgrace when in office and failed the people of Broward County. No one should have a bit of sympathy for this woman. I don't.
Open Post- Don Surber, Basil's Blog, Bright & Early
TALLAHASSEE · The Florida Elections Commission on Friday agreed to slap a $10,000 fine on former Broward County Elections Supervisor Miriam Oliphant for neglecting her duties during a botched 2002 primary.
In a 3-to-2 vote, the commission signaled its intent to impose a fine stiffer than the $2,000 penalty recommended by an administrative law judge in late August. That decision will be formally approved during a February commission meeting.
"This is the ultimate act of maliciousness," said Henry Hunter, one of Oliphant's lawyers. "This is selective prosecution." Mark Herron, another of her attorneys, asked that his client pay no penalty, adding that she remains unemployed after being suspended without pay from her post in 2003 and then losing a bid to re-win the job in a 2004 primary.
"I'm not sure she has the ability to pay $2,000, let alone $10,000," Herron said. "There is no penalty that could be imposed here to compensate people for the loss of their right to vote. She's already been removed from office, so in terms of getting the last ounce of blood ... the ultimate penalty has already been paid.
But commissioners and their staff said that Oliphant willfully neglected her duties, resulting in 23 polls not opening by 7 a.m. and 32 polls failing to heed the governor's order to stay open past 7 p.m. so that voters could cast a ballot.
"Her failure was willful," said Eric Lipman, the commission's assistant general counsel. "She said she relied on her staff ... but you can't be a ceremonial head. She abdicated her responsibility."
The Elections Commission had charged Oliphant with 55 violations of state election law, which could carry a maximum fine of $55,000. Judge Claude Arrington knocked it down to two violations, suggesting a $2,000 fine -- but no more than $10,000 -- because of the former supervisor's financial troubles. The commission on Friday, however, restored the total violations to 55.
Gov. Jeb Bush suspended Oliphant and the state Senate formally endorsed that decision in May.