Florida Judge denies Allen West request for recount (Update – Canvass Board orders “retabulation” of early votes)
Via Palm Beach Post:
A judge today denied U.S. Rep. Allen West‘s request that he order a recount of 37,379 ballots from early voting in St. Lucie County — effectively leaving the decision up to the county’s canvassing board, which meets today at 4 p.m.
Circuit Judge Dan Vaughn said he did not have the authority to issue an injunction ordering the recount, which West wanted after problems emerged in the counting of early votes on election night.
Unofficial returns show Democrat Patrick Murphy leading the race by 1,907 votes or 0.58 percent in District 18, which includes St. Lucie, Martin and northern Palm Beach counties.
West has not conceded.
In denying West’s motion, Vaughn noted the canvassing board is considering the issue at a meeting this afternoon. The judge also said that West has other legal remedies — specifically mentioning a statute that allows a candidate to contest an election within 10 days of the final certification of results. That certification is scheduled for Tuesday.
Update: Via The Blaze:
The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board has ordered the retabulation of all early votes in the highly contested congressional race between Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) and Democrat Patrick Murphy, according to Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a volunteer lawyer for the West campaign. The board voted 2-1 in favor of recounting the votes.
“This retabulation of all early votes as the Supervisor of Elections originally planned is a victory for democracy,” Shapiro told TheBlaze. “This restores some level of trust and public confidence in the system…it was the right thing to do.”
Election officials will begin retabulating the roughly 20,000 additional early votes cast in St. Lucie County at 9 a.m. on Saturday, he said.
West needs to gain just 249 votes in those 20,000 ballots to trigger a statutory recount under state law, Shapiro told TheBlaze. West gained 535 votes in the initial recount of 16,275 ballots. Both candidates combined lost 800 votes, however, 80 percent of the decrease was owned by Murphy.
Before the canvassing board voted, state Division of Elections official David Drury made a “personal” recommendation that all early votes in the county be retabulated after officials realized there were 304 early voting ballots that were never counted. There was also reportedly a missing “communications log.”
A circuit judge dealt the West campaign a blow earlier on Friday after he ruled he didn’t have the authority to order a county-wide recount of early votes.
The Murphy campaign has vowed to go to court in order to prevent a recount of early votes.