Voter integrity group True the Vote (TTV) filed a federal lawsuit Monday against St. Lucie County Florida Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker for failing to uphold election law and for failing to enforce record inspection rights under the National Voter Registration Act and the Florida Constitution. The lawsuit has been filed in light of the gross mishandling of the recount between Rep. Allen West and now Rep. Patrick Murphy by St. Lucie County election officials.
"True the Vote's lawsuit will provide information kept from the public. It will allow for a public debate on exactly what happened, why it happened, why it seems to happen repeatedly and how it can be stopped from happening again," True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said in a video statement about the lawsuit.
Walker has already admitted mistakes were made during the recount process but has been less than transparent when it comes to allowing TTV or even the West campaign to access information about votes cast. On November 10, days after the election took place, Walker "unofficially" certified the results and three days later on November 13, she held a press conference where she admitted her staff had acted with "haste" and that "mistakes were made" throughout the tabulation and partial recount process.
According to the NVRA of 1993, Walker "shall maintain for at least 2 years and shall make available for public inspection and, where available, photocopying at a reasonable cost, all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters.”
According to a press release, TTV is seeking to "compel St. Lucie County election authorities to grant complete inspection rights to all election records pertaining to the 18th District race and voter registration records under federal and state law. In addition, TTV demands that the court order the Supervisor of Elections to preserve all records. If granted access, TTV will determine a precise vote count, document any illegal participation in the election and offer solutions to prevent similar failures in future recounts."
"Gone are the days when Motor Voter is a law used only by a couple of special interest groups. The law requires physical inspections, I hope we reach a quick agreement," TTV attorney J. Christian Adams of the Election Law Center said.
The lawsuit provides an extensive timeline of events and documented non-cooperation from election officials after information requests were filed.
“This dramatic recount was an extraordinary example of how our elections can suffer systematic failure,” True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said. “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. The clock is ticking on the opportunity for a comprehensive, outside audit of this recount...each passing day heightens the risk of critical documents being disposed of. If you thought voter fraud could erode America’s confidence in elections, unchecked incompetence in the vote tabulation process will destroy all faith remaining in our systems.”
The lawsuit was filed by TTV in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida – Fort Pierce Division.
"The sanctity of our elections is too important to let this slide," Engelbrecht said. "We the people have a right and responsibility to demand answers when our elections process fails and that's what we're doing."