As St. Lucie County recount begins, West camp calls it a ‘sham’ and Murphy lawyer raises qualmsby George Bennett | November 11th, 2012
FORT PIERCE — A recount of early votes from St. Lucie County began this morning with lawyers for apparent Democratic congressional victor Patrick Murphy and Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West raising early qualms.
St. Lucie County’s elections office announced Saturday that, because of concerns about the way tabulating equipment uploaded early vote totals on election night, it would conduct a meeting this morning “to recount all ballots cast during early voting.” That would be 37,379 ballots.
But Assistant County Attorney Heather Young began proceedings today by announcing the recount would only cover the final three days of early voting — Nov. 1-3 — because she said those were the only days tabulating equipment had a problem reading memory cards. A total of 16,275 ballots were cast on those three days.
West’s campaign said it was told last week that the problem occurred with the first three days of early voting — Oct. 27-29 — and therefore the recount of the final three days doesn’t address its concerns. West campaign manager Tim Edson said he’d prefer a recount of all eight days of early voting.
“What’s going on today is a sham,” Edson said. “It does nothing to at all to address the concerns we had after being told yesterday they would be recounting all early votes.”
An attorney for Murphy, Sean Dominick, told Young early today that there is no legal basis to recount early votes (state law calls for a recount only in races decided by 0.5 percent or less; Murphy was declared victor by 0.72 percent) and only ballots that were not counted before the election should be counted today.
“To the extent that there are votes that are uncounted, we are all in favor of any vote being counted,” Dominick said to Young.
Young answered that “the only way to do that is to feed all of them because we can’t identify which votes may or may not have been counted.”
Young said she was acting on a recommendation from the Florida Division of Elections.
Young later said that today’s exercise, though described as a “recount” in the public notice from the Supervisor of Elections office, is actually a “re-feed” of ballots. And while national interest is focused on the West-Murphy congressional race, Young said the “re-feed” covers all the races on the St. Lucie County ballot.
Follow updates on the recount at twitter.com/gbennettpost