War hero Allen West, a retired Army colonel, is not giving up his re-election bid without a fight.
The first-term GOP Congressman has refused to concede the hotly contested election in Florida’s 18th Congressional district based on various alleged voting improprieties and may contest the outcome in court. According to Politico, “while [Patrick] Murphy has declared victory, West and his advisers are threatening to wage a protracted legal battle – raising the prospect that the high-profile race will drag on for days, if not weeks, longer.” Florida officials have yet to official certify a winner.
West currently trails Democrat Murphy by about 2,400 votes but there appear to be various glitches (or worse) in St. Lucie County, the only county in the district where Murphy prevailed. Murphy’s total lead over West is about 50.3 to 49.7 percent, a margin of some 0 .6 percent. Under Florida law, a recent occurs automatically at 0.5 percent or less. St. Lucie County agreed to recount early votes from November 1 to November 3,and West picked up votes in that process, but the West campaign wants a recount of all early votes cast in the county.
According to the Watchdog.org website, taken together the St. Lucie precincts had a 141 percent turnout, which obviously requires further explanation one way or another as to how this makes sense in connection with ballot integrity. The Examiner reports that the St. Lucie County Board of Elections issued a clarification that the actual turnout was about 71 percent, but that is still significantly higher than the national voter turnout. “This still supports speculation that [there] could be more votes counted than the total number of votes cast.”
The Shark Tank Florida political blog notes that St. Lucie officials are “dragging their feet in releasing the voter sign-in rolls” which would enable the West campaign to compare the rolls to the actual votes cast. This information is critical for the West effort because “once the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections releases its voter sign in rolls, West will be able to more clearly determine how much the gap between he Patrick Murphy is.”
With regard to the possible vote fraud in St. Lucie County, Allen West campaign manager Tim Edson responded as follows:
“Today the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, after promising to recount all early votes, counted only ballots from the last three days of early voting, netting Allen West over 500 votes. The problem is those aren’t the first three days of early voting—the days the Supervisor of Elections originally said were compromised by faulty data cards in the machines.
“We will continue to fight for a recount of all early votes. In addition, we will ensure that the public is able to view the poll book sign-ins to ensure the number of early votes cast match the numbers of voters who checked-in to vote.
“Nothing coming out of Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker’s office adds up, stories are constantly changing, and the hostile attitude of the Supervisor is disturbing. What originally looked like dangerous incompetence is looking more and more like a willful attempt to steal an election.”
Alleged fraud or other shenanigans in ballot counting also appear to have potentially affected the outcomes of local election races in the county.
At this point in time, there appears to be no allegations of election chicanery to the disadvantage of Congressman West in either Palm Beach County or Martin County.