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West-Murphy update: Judge sets hearing, Division of Elections official arrives

by George Bennett | November 14th, 2012

Florida Division of Elections Bureau of Systems Certification Chief David Drury and St. Lucie County Elections Supervisor Gertrude Walker watch a recount today from the Fort Pierce mayor's race.

FORT PIERCE – A St. Lucie County circuit judge has scheduled a two-hour hearing for Friday on Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West’s request for a recount of all 37,379 ballots cast during early voting in St. Lucie County in his tight reelection fight against Democrat Patrick Murphy.

Murphy holds a 0.58 percent lead over West in unofficial returns from congressional District 18, which includes St. Lucie and Martin counties and northern Palm Beach County.

West has not conceded, citing errors in St. Lucie County’s initial early vote tally that prompted Secretary of State Ken Detzner to send three officials to Fort Pierce today to observe and report on the St. Lucie County elections office.

St. Lucie County Elections Supervisor Gertrude Walker said her office double-counted some early ballots and failed to count others on election night. But Walker said the problem was limited to ballots from three of the eight days of early voting and was fixed Sunday during a recount of those votes.

West says a full recount of ballots from all eight days of early voting is needed to eliminate any doubts about St. Lucie County’s totals. West’s motion for injunctive relief asks Judge Dan Vaughn to order a full recount of early votes and bar the county from certifying results until the recount is complete. Vaughn set a hearing on the motion for 1 p.m. Friday.

Counties must file certified results with the state by noon Sunday. The state’s Election Canvassing Commission gives final certification to to all results on Tuesday.

Detzner sent three officials to St. Lucie County to observe and make recommendations. David Drury, head of the Division of Elections Bureau of Voting Systems Certifications, arrived late in the afternoon and spoke to Walker while elections workers conducted a recount for the Fort Pierce mayor’s race.

In that race, Vince Gaskin was the narrow leader before Sunday’s partial recount with 6,703 votes to 6,682 votes for Linda Hudson. But after Sunday’s recount, Hudson gained 233 votes and Gaskin picked up 151 votes and Hudson became the new leader by 0.44 percent.

While a total of 448 new votes appeared in that race after Sunday’s partial recount, a total of 799 votes disappeared from the West-Murphy race during the same recount. Murphy lost 667 votes and West 132, for a net gain of 535 votes for West that reduced Murphy’s overall margin to 1,907 votes or 0.58 percent.

A race must be within 0.5 percent to trigger a recount under state law. But state law also allows a county to conduct a “retabulation” of votes if it “determines that the unofficial returns may contain a counting error in which the vote tabulation system failed to count votes that were properly marked.”

West’s camp argues the errors that came to light in Sunday’s partial recount justify a full recount or retabulation.

“What we’re seeking is the truth of what the actual vote count is,” West attorney Jason Torchinsky said on a conference call with reporters today. “And given all these inconsistent and constantly changing numbers, we have no confidence in the numbers that are being reported by St. Lucie County right now.”

But Murphy attorney Sean Domnick said there’s no reason to go beyond Sunday’s partial recount.

“There is no reason to doubt the veracity of the other votes, the process that was there. If there was, these folks (the St. Lucie County canvassing board) would have looked at those other days,” Domnick said. “I am absolutely comfortable that the canvassing board looked at what their responsibility was, fulfilled their responsibility and Patrick Murphy is the winner.”


15 Responses to “West-Murphy update: Judge sets hearing, Division of Elections official arrives”

  1. Chuck Winn Says:

    The votes from 3 of the 8 days of early voting that the St Lucie SOE retabulated on 11 Nov equalled a sample of 14% of the St Lucie total. Results showed Murphy’s total had been over reported by 4% whereas West’s had been over reported by 1%. If those percentages are applied to their respective county-wide St Lucie totals that were reported on election night, WEST COME OUT AHEAD BY 111 VOTES!

  2. Phil Says:

    West is a poor loser, just like Ryan and Romney…what is amazing is the person in charge of voting will most likely keep her job. Florida prides itself in having county,city and state governments that don’t work. The Republicans always so
    “government does not work” then they get elected and try it. They were out of power from 1930 to 1952 because of incompetence
    and if were not for getting a war hero
    Eisenhauer…they would have been out of power longer. Florida is an embarassment
    to firms and my boss said, until last week he has never been stopped from voting and he said if I want to move
    in January, to Nevada I have a job as
    he decided to close the business and move and take 21 jobs out of Florida.

  3. RENEGADE Says:

    @Chuck Winn.

    You are absolutely correct.

    In 59 Philadelphia voting districts, there was not even 1 vote for Mitt Romney. The districts reported in zero votes for Romney. Not one vote! Not even a mistake on 1 ballet.


  4. Phil Says:

    I would guess that no Jews voted for Hitler in 1932 either. This is a Black
    district and the polls (that FoxNoise
    tried to discredit) showed Mitt Rommel
    has 0% of the Black vote. Romney got over 70% of the Utah Mormon vote…think it was because he IS A MORMON BISHOP??????

  5. Rep-Elect Murphy Says:

    Really excited for Rep-elect Murphy to get to work!

    FINALLY, a rep to do the people’s business for the people of FL-18!

    Lots to do. Let’s get to work.

    Allen West will lose his case because there is no legal case to be made for a recount. He has no evidence of fraud, and at this point he and his froth-at-the-mouth supporters just look pathetic.

  6. ric Says:

    not to call you to much of a racist but you should know that 8% of African Americans are registered republicans. That being said at least 4-8 % of the Philly vote should have been for Romney. There are also Hispanic and Anglo people in those districts.
    Your logic is nonexistent.
    As far as the West V. Murphy election goes if there were 11% errors in the count in a 14% sample the entire county should be recounted. This is America and the voters should be represented by the actual winner whichever candidate that might be.

  7. Election Fraud Says:

    @Phil Comment #4.

    I read the article on that link.
    It states that the final vote for the districts was 19,605 to 0 in favor of Obama.

    Am I to believe that there was not even 1 Republican vote – not even one?? Not even a mistake?

    19,605 to 0???????????

  8. You Really Wanna Go There? Says:

    Yes, let’s talk about African-American districts half a country away.

    America is sick to death of you right wing racists.

    In fact, while we’re on the topic of African-Americans… Let’s take a look at a recently unearthed interview with deceased Republican strategist for Richard Nixon and Karl Rove’s personal mentor (and author of the Southern Strategy), Lee Atwater.

    Here is what Lee Atwater, Republican “strategist” said about African-Americans:

    “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘N—-r, n—-r, n—-r.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘n—-r’ — that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites…. ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘N—-r, n—-r.’”

    So um yeah.

    Let’s talk about African-Americans shall we?

    Let’s talk about African-Americans and voting, shall we?

    Let’s talk about Rick Scott and African-Americans and voting, shall we?

    Let’s talk about Rick Scott and African-Americans and voting and 2014, shall we?


    Tick tock, Rick Scott.


  9. Truthbetold11 Says:

    What a black man cant get a recount? Obama would get one. Only cause he has a R next to his name. Martin luther king was a republican people arent taught that. Black. White or green. West is a good man

  10. Rock3360 Says:

    Black. White or green
    West is a scumbag and a waste of good oxygen!!


    The fake #3 is our RACIST little TROLL
    better known as bigdem, or sameolesameole or Obamaisafailure!

    Pitiful little excuse for a man.



    Chuck Winn YOUR SO WRONG!!!

    The 3 days recounted are 46% of the early vote. So at that rate West still loses big even recounting the entire early vote!!!!


  12. Rose Lake Says:

    Many voters just want the totals verified. Is it too much to ask the election commission to take the simple steps necessary to check the remaining early votes to ensure the public that their votes counted, and that the totals are correct?

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  14. Rose Lake Says:

    Walker said that Mr. West should wait until the results are certified, then challenge Mr. Murphy’s election. This is such an obvious stalling tactic. If the commission fails to count all the early votes, she knows perfectly well that West will be unable to challenge an election *after* it’s been certified so long as the spread remains above .5% – a threshold that the commission is apparently afraid will be met if they recount all the early votes in just one county, which they agreed to do, then failed to perform. This is how to make sure that U.S. voters can’t trust that their votes will be counted. Looks like we DO need international observers after all. Amazing.

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