West seeks injunction to impound ballots, voting machinesby George Bennett | November 7th, 2012
FORT PIERCE — Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West wants courts to order elections officials to impound ballots and voting machines in preparation for a recount following his narrow loss to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy.
Motions for injunctions were filed in St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties. Information wasn’t immediately available from Martin County, the third county in congressional District 18.
West trails Murphy by 2,456 votes or 0.78 percent. That’s not close enough to trigger a state law that requires a recount for races decided by 0.5 percent or less. But West claims irregularities in the way St. Lucie County counted its early ballots.
St. Lucie County Elections Supervisor Gertrude Walker has already sealed ballots after West’s attorney made a request to the canvassing board early this morning.
Walker said some of the 18 memory cards that stored information from more than 37,000 early ballots could not be uploaded properly on Tuesday night, so the ballots were recounted later.
West led by 1,833 votes at around 9:30 p.m. and continued to hold a narrow lead as totals were updated throughout the night. But after the early votes from St. Lucie County were recounted, Murphy had a 2,456-vote advantage.
A statement by West campaign manager Tim Edson said there was “complete chaos” in Walker’s office and accused Walker of “hostility and demonstrated incompetence.”
Walker called the complaint a “low blow.”