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 “personal” recommendation was made by state Division of Elections official David Drury after officials realized there were 304 early voting ballots that were never counted.
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.
Officials reportedly brought in boxes of ballots from St. Lucie Elections Supervisor Gertrude Walker’s office on Friday, looking for the 304 ballots that may be missing. The Palm Beach Post previously reported that an attorney for Walker said the missing ballots could be in her office.
The elections supervisor had apparently been undergoing tests at a hospital and hadn’t been in her office all day. Gertrude did reportedly speak with the state elections office and was told if she could isolate the “affected” ballots, her office may only need to recount those.
Earlier on Friday, a circuit court judge denied West‘s request that he order a recount of 37,379 ballots from early voting in St. Lucie County.
Gerald Richman, an attorney for Murphy, said in court on Friday that there is not enough evidence to support a full recount of early votes. Even if the canvassing board orders a full recount, the Murphy campaign plans to go to court to block it.
“If the canvassing board were to decide that they want to do that without any evidentiary basis to do so, we’ll be back before your honor with a motion for injunctive relief against them doing it because under the law the statute that we cited for your honor they have absolutely no right to do it,” Richman reportedly said.
This is a breaking story and updates will be added.