As hearing looms, Allen West wants recount expanded to absentee ballotsby George Bennett | November 16th, 2012
FORT PIERCE — Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West‘s attorneys this morning amended their request for a recount of more than 37,000 ballots cast during early voting in St. Lucie County to also include a request to recount about 37,000 absentee ballots from the county.
A hearing is set for 1 p.m. before St. Lucie County Circuit Judge Dan Vaughn.
Unofficial returns show Democrat Patrick Murphy leading West by 1,907 votes or 0.58 percent. West has not conceded, citing admitted errors by the St. Lucie County elections office in tallying early votes on election night. Elections Supervisor Gertrude Walker says those problems, which included double-counting some ballots and failing to count others, were rectified in a partial recount Sunday and no further recounts are needed.
In an amended complaint filed this morning, the West campaign says its review of absentee ballot records shows “significant problems” with those ballots as well the early votes. The West camp says that in some precincts, the number of absentee votes recorded exceeds the number of voters who are listed as casting absentee ballots.
Placard-carrying West supporters are marching and chanting outside the courthouse in anticipation of the two-hour hearing.
Under Florida law, a candidate must be within 0.5 percent to merit a recount. Murphy’s margin is larger. The West campaign technically is asking for a “retabulation” under Florida statutes, which allow a county to conduct such an exercise if it finds errors in its initial tabulation of votes.