November 16, 2012 at 1:05 pm
The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board is expected to decide on Friday whether to retabulate some or all early votes cast ahead of Election Day.
This, on the same day a St. Lucie County judge hears a request from U.S. Rep. Allen West to recount all of the early votes cast in the race for the 18th Congressional district.
West, the Tea Party favorite who appeared to be headed for defeat after Democrat Patrick Murphy was projected to win the race, has refused to concede.
“We are within 249 votes of a mandatory recount,” West said this week. “All we are saying is do the right thing by the voters and do the full early vote recount because that is where the issue is.”
After a partial recount of ballots cast during the final three days of early voting in St. Lucie County, Murphy led West by about 1,900 votes or a margin of more than 0.5% — more than what would trigger an automatic recount.
“It stands to reason that if the remaining early votes were to be recounted, additional errors would be uncovered and the tabulation of votes revised accordingly,” Allen West for Congress said in a statement.
The campaign called the recount a “sham” and said all eight days of early voting in St. Lucie County should be have been recounted.
David Drury, a Florida Division of Elections bureau chief, arrived in St. Lucie County on Wednesday to begin an audit of how the county’s canvassing board ran the election.
A spokesperson for Secretary of State Ken Detzner said he expected Drury and two others from the state’s Bureau of Voting Systems Certification to remain in St. Lucie County through the weekend.
Last week, a Palm Beach County Circuit Court judge denied a request by West to impound voting machines and recount ballots.
Late Thursday, West’s attorneys said they had discovered possible discrepancies in St. Lucie County after a review of early and absentee ballot information.
Nearly 1,000 votes may be in question, according to Tim Edson, Allen West for Congress campaign manager.
In a letter to Detzner, attorneys said 110 early votes were cast in a precinct that didn’t have enough early voters to support the number of votes cast.
Four hundred eighty-eight people cast early votes in precinct 28, they said, but election returns showed 499 early votes were counted.
Attorneys also raised concerns about 121 voters they said had returned absentee ballots but did not appear to have been assigned precinct.
Earlier, volunteer attorneys for West had petitioned Detzner to conduct a preliminary investigation into the election and for a machine recount in three counties.
Attorneys Mark Young and Jeffrey Scott Shapiro said 809 votes disappeared when the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections retabulated the final three days of early votes on Sunday.
Young and Shapiro said the missing votes, which accounted for 3.2% of the retabulated votes, amounted to an irregularity.
After the retabulation, West received a net increase of 535 votes over Murphy.
“On faith and belief, if this trend continues, for the remaining votes, the final outcome of the Congressional election could change,” Yound and Shapiro said.
More than 330,000 votes were cast in the race.