Judge Denies Allen West’s Request for Recount in Fla. Race
A judge on Friday denied Rep. Allen West’s request for a recount of the 37,379 ballots from early voting in St. Lucie County, Fla. The decision now falls to the county’s canvassing board, which meets today at 4 p.m. EST, the Palm Beach Post reports.
Circuit Judge Dan Vaughn said he does not have the authority to order a recount. West has been vocal about his concerns regarding the counting of early votes on election night.
During their meeting today, the St. Lucie County Canvassing Board will consider whether a full recount of early votes is necessary.
Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy leads West by 1,907 votes. An unofficial vote tally is due to the state Saturday.
St. Lucie County officials recounted only three days of early voting after finding out that machines double counted some ballots. As a result, West reportedly gained 132 votes and Murphy lost 667, according to reports.
West’s attorneys argue the problems with early voting ballots are enough to warrant a recount of all early votes in the county after nearly 800 votes disappeared following Sunday’s initial recount. Meanwhile, Murphy’s lawyers say there is not enough evidence for a county-wide recount.
West said on Friday that while his team respects the court’s decision, they “remain concerned the voters in St. Lucie County will not be able to have confidence in the integrity of the electoral process and their right to a fair election.” West vowed to “pursue all legal options” to ensure the ballots in the county are counted accurately, saying there were “many discrepancies” with votes.
Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a volunteer lawyer for the West campaign, told TheBlaze on Friday that the congressman’s supporters are disappointed with the judge’s decision, but “this is by no means the end” of the fight.
“The judge made it clear that we will still have the right to contest the election if it turns out enough votes are in dispute, and based on the problems I’ve seen in this county so far, I am confident that threshold can be satisfied,” he said.
Murphy has gone on national television and appeared on Capitol Hill proclaiming victory over West even though the race has not been called yet.
Murphy’s campaign manager Anthony Kusich released the following statement following the judge’s decision on Friday:
“Once again, Congressman Allen West’s political stunts have been dismissed by the courts. Instead of admitting defeat, Allen West wants to keep counting votes until he gets the outcome he desires. That’s not how elections work and that is not how the law works. Patrick is ready to put the campaign behind him and move forward with addressing the challenges facing the people of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches, first and foremost of which is getting Florida back to work.”
Attempts to contact officials with the Allen West campaign were unsuccessful.
This story has been updated with additional information.
Featured image via AFP/Getty
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