True the Vote Files Suit Against the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections in Florida

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 08: U.S. Rep. Allen West (R-FL) speaks during a Tea Party Town Hall meeting February 8, 2011 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The town hall meeting was held by the Tea Party Express and Tea Party HD to address issues Tea Party members were concerned over. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

True the Vote, a watchdog group dedicated to protecting against voter fraud, on Monday filed suit against the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections in Florida, demanding the release of “all records pertaining to the recent 18th Congressional District election and subsequent recounts between Rep. Allen West and Patrick Murphy be reviewed in order to perform a comprehensive third-party audit.”

Here’s True the Vote president Catherine Engelbrecht explaining what the group hopes to accomplish from the lawsuit:

As Engelbrecht notes in the video, the group does not expect to overturn Rep. Murphy’s narrow victory over Allen West. Rather, True the Vote wants the election board’s recount process to be made public so that similar debacles can be avoided in the future.

“This dramatic recount was an extraordinary example of how our elections can suffer systematic failure,” said Engelbrecht.

“We run the risk seeing episodes like this becoming ordinary if citizens do not demand answers and hold election officials accountable. The American people own the voting system — we have the right to ask tough questions when we witness the failure of one of America’s core functions,” she adds.

She concludes by noting that the “clock is ticking” for the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections to present True the Vote with a detailed audit of the election, because “each passing day heightens the risk of critical documents being disposed of.”

Here’s True the Vote’s point-by-point account of the messy West/Murphy recount:

  • On November 6, St. Lucie County election administrators admitted that ballot tabulation machines suffered a malfunction, preventing early vote totals from being properly counted. County workers were forced to hand-feed ballots into tabulation machines as a result.
  • On November 8, West demanded a full recount of early votes and copies of poll sign-in records to compare voter participation against ballots cast. West’s requests were denied and ignored, respectively.
  • On November 9, West demanded that a Florida state court impound all ballots and voting machines, but made no claims of the sort True the Vote makes today in federal court. West’s requests in state court were denied.
  • On November 10,  St. Lucie County  “unofficially certified” the vote count for CD-18 and publicly acknowledged “uncertainty” over the early vote totals.  St. Lucie County  called an emergency meeting to “recount all ballots cast during early voting.” The county later reversed itself, only performing a partial retabulation. After the partial retabulation, the lead for  Patrick Murphy decreased.
  • On November 13, Defendant  Gertrude Walker  held a press conference admitting that her staff acted with “haste” and that “mistakes were made” throughout the tabulation and partial recount process. Florida Division of Elections auditors were dispatched to investigate how 799 votes disappeared or changed hands during the partial recount.
  • On November 16, Defendant Walker claimed to find 306 early votes in a box at her office that had not been counted. The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board ordered a recount of all early votes, with a deadline set for noon on  November 18.
  • On  November 17, the full recount operation was relocated to a privately-owned property. County workers were evicted from the premises late at night, suspending the recount until the next morning.
  • On November 18, County workers failed to meet the deadline, instead certifying the original  November 10  tabulation, which officials claimed “uncertainty” over the accuracy of the results.

And here’s the full lawsuit:

True the Vote Filed Suit Against the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections in Florida by Becket Adams

You can read some of the interesting information TheBlaze uncovered about Walker in our past story here.

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdaams) on Twitter

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