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Florida Judge denies Allen West request for recount (Update – Canvass Board orders “retabulation” of early votes)

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.

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Iam A. Patriot | November 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm

FORMER FLORIDA ELECTIONS CHIEF ON WEST-MURPHY: ‘HOW DO YOU GET AWAY WITH DOING A PARTIAL RECOUNT?’

Former Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning, a three-decade veteran of Florida elections, says he understands why Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West would be “a little steamed” by Sunday’s disputed partial recount of early votes in St. Lucie County.

…“If I were Allen West and my opponent lost 600-plus votes, I’d be a little steamed. Because how many votes would he lose if you did a full recount?” Browning said.

MORE: http://www.postonpolitics.com/2012/11/former-florida-elections-chief-on-west-murphy-how-do-you-get-away-with-doing-a-partial-recount/

This is standard Dem recount Strategy, if the election is close, keep counting until the guy is ahead and then stop, unless you are certain the Dem will win.

As a ruling, this was probably correct and totally in line with black-letter law.

Courts of law do not enjoin until all administrative law traps have been run.

Now, if the West was a democrat, the request would have been granted lickity split!

Meanwhile back in St. Lucie it has been a circus. This thing is now where near over.

From the Blaze:

An official with the Florida Division of Elections is recommending that the St. Lucie County Canvassing Board retabulate another five days of early voting, Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a volunteer attorney with the Allen West campaign, told TheBlaze.

The board has not made a final decision on the matter but one is expected sometime Friday night. However, should the county’s canvassing board adopt the recommendation, an additional 20,000 early voting ballots would be retabulated in the race between Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) and Democrat Patrick Murphy.

Shapiro said the West campaign would need to gain just 249 votes in those 20,000 ballots to trigger a statutory recount under state law. West gained 535 votes in the initial recount of three days of early voting ballots, or 16,275 ballots. Following the recount, the vote tally for both candidates was decreased by more than 800 votes, 80 percent of the decrease hitting Murphy.

“In a U.S. congressional race where more than 330,000 votes are at stake — and a current gap to victory is less than 2,000 — an 800-vote change in a sample of 16,275 is extremely significant,” Shapiro recently wrote in an op-ed for the Sun Sentinel.

Election officials found some discrepancies, including a missing “communications log” and at least 304 uncounted votes, according to Shapiro.

An attorney for St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker said the missing ballots could be in a box in her office but she has been undergoing tests at a hospital and hasn’t been in her office all day, the Palm Beach Post reports.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/not-over-yet-florida-division-of-elections-official-recommends-retabulation-of-about-20000-more-early-votes-in-allen-west-race/

More reports on Gertrude Walker in the hospital. (Doing a Jesse Jackson Jr. ????)

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/murphy-west-recount-debated-in-st-lucie-as-electio/nS8Xp/

The reports I am getting from Facebook by observers at the scene are that retabulating ballots or even tabulating some ballots for the first time will continue late into the night. They are requesting more volunteer observers to come to St Lucie to help. They are reporting a completely chaotic scene with boxes of ballots appearing and disappearing…

Just in…A full recount of all early voting and previously uncounted votes to begin tommorow AM ! The vote was 2-1 by the board !

>>> (Update – Canvass Board orders “retabulation” of early votes)

Prof, that is the BEST news I’ve heard in a long time – thank you!

GO ALLEN WEST!

JackRussellTerrierist | November 17, 2012 at 2:52 am

KEEP FIGHTING, COLONEL!! GIVE ‘EM HELL! YOU’VE GOT NOTHING TO LOSE AND EVERYTHING TO GAIN!!

West should do exactly what the Democrats do. Keep demanding and using every trick in the book to get votes counted until they wind up in your favor. Heck, find boxes of votes in car trunks, if necessary. Beat the Democrats at their own filthy game.

I don’t understand what is the point of a recount; does he really think the votes were miscounted by machine the first time? The real problem is votes that were copied while R observers were physically prevented from seeing what the election worker was doing, and verifying that he was accurately copying what was on the original ballot. It’s obvious that there was nothing preventing them from “copying” a Republican vote as a Democrat one, and therefore no reason to believe they didn’t do so. No matter how many times you count those altered ballots they’re still going to come out Democrat; they need to be thrown out, not recounted.

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