Florida officials have ordered a partial recount in the race between Republican Allen West and his challenger Democrat Patrick Murphy. As we reported yesterday, there was over 100% turnout in several precincts in St. Lucie County, Florida. The election officials in that county announced late yesterday that there would be an emergency meeting Sunday morning at 7 AM.
It turns out this emergency meeting was set up to recount the ballots cast during early voting. It is estimated that roughly 37,000 early ballots were cast.
West, who has refused to concede the race, is currently trailing Murphy by 2,442 votes, according to the latest results from Florida Division of Elections. On its website, the agency says West has garnered 164,448 votes to Murphy’s 166,890.
"There are possible irregularities in St. Lucie County," claims Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a Florida lawyer volunteering for the West campaign who has been quoted on the issue. "On Sunday we'll have a chance to recount the early votes and that's a good start to preserving the integrity of the democratic process."
West's campaign said in a Saturday statement it was pleased with the news of the partial recount.
"This decision should help shed light on the situation of this election," the statement said. "This is the action we were seeking to ensure the results of this election were fair and accurate."
West's campaign had said earlier Saturday that issues with the voting in St. Lucie County meant the race was still undecided.
"Late on Election Night, Congressman West led by 1,700 votes," West for Congress said in a statement. "Following the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections’ decision to recount thousands of early ballots after a technical glitch, the margin shifted by 4,000. In order to ensure that votes were not doubled counted, we have requested that the St. Lucie Supervisor of Elections make public the poll check-in books to ensure the numbers of ballots cast matches the numbers of voters checked-in at the polls."
The state tally is complete but still unofficial. There are still a handful of overseas and military ballots outstanding.
But under Florida law, recounts are based on Saturday's results. Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy won enough votes to avoid an automatic recount.
Now that there is a recount being conducted, West has the option to contest the election if fraud or misconduct may have changed the result, whether or not the recount changes the outcome of the election.
There is no word yet on when we will have an answer on the outcome of the race, but we hope that the voter fraud will be taken seriously and that a fair election was had.