Although the Florida courts have denied Allen West’s petition for a recount in his district’s Congressional race, he may be getting one anyway thanks to a decision by the St. Lucie County Canvassing Board to retabulate all early voting ballots in FL-18.
The decision came late last night after the canvassing board met for over five hours on to whether to do the retabulation or not.
The District 18 race has been hotly contested between Congressman Allen West and newcomer Patrick Murphy. Murphy has already declared victory and West has not conceded. St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, Gertrude Walker, had done a partial recount which narrowed the margin between the two candidates to within .58%, however a ratio of .5% is needed to trigger a mandatory recount of all the votes in the district. The votes must be certified by Sunday at 12 p.m.
Without a court mandated recount, one of West’s few remaining avenues to pursue a district-wide recount now rests with results of St. Lucie County’s retabulation.
If today’s retabulation of all the early votes cast in the race creates the .5% margin, then it would trigger a state mandated recount of all votes cast in the district, which would then require Palm Beach County and Martin County Supervisor of Elections offices to recount all of their ballots as well. If that happens, it is doubtful the recounts will have time to reach the Florida Division of Elections by 12 p.m. tomorrow to be certified. It is likely an extension will be granted depending upon what happens today in St. Lucie County and if that margin is narrowed to trigger the district-wide recount. In that situation, then it is expected the recount in the three counties could be completed by 5 p.m. on Monday.
There will undoubtedly be more updates to come from Florida’s 18th Congressional district as Allen West’s recount effort continues.