Skip to comments.Ballot tally wears on, as court hearing is reset for Friday on West demand for recount
Posted on 11/08/2012 4:15:54 PM PST by Red Steel
Supporters of Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West from motorcycle club members to retirees turned out in force at the Supervisor of Elections warehouse in Riviera Beach Thursday to observe the extended counting and copying of problematic ballots in a nationally watched race in which Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy held a narrow lead.
West, whose status as an outspoken conservative and frequent cable TV guest has drawn him legions of admirers and critics nationwide, wants ballots and voting machines impounded for a possible recount even though Murphys lead of about 0.66 percent is larger than the 0.5 percent margin that triggers a recount under state law.
A Palm Beach County circuit court hearing scheduled for Thursday on Wests motion to impound ballots and voting machines was rescheduled for noon Friday, by agreement of his and Supervisor of Elections Susan Buchers attorneys. West filed a similar motion in St. Lucie County.
Shortly after the hearing was rescheduled, an attorney for Democratic candidate Patrick Murphy filed court papers seeking to intervene in the court case. According to Murphys attorney, Gerald Richman, the court papers filed by Wests attorneys were riddled with errors, including failing to name a defendant and how West would be irreparably harmed if the ballots and machines were not impounded.
Meanwhile Wests attorneys Thursday asked volunteers at the Palm Beach County elections warehouse to document any irregularities they saw while observing workers copying ballots.
The latest results in three-county congressional District 18 show Murphy leading by 2,159 votes. In the Palm Beach County portion of the district, West was ahead of Murphy by fewer than 400 votes.
Florida totals for the presidential race also remain in flux but just barely. With Republican Mitt Romney already conceding to President Barack Obama Wednesday morning, the national race was over even though three Florida counties were still tabulating returns Thursday: Palm Beach, Broward and Duval.
Unofficial results posted by Floridas Division of Elections had Obama winning by fewer than 56,000 votes out of 8.3 million cast. Under state law, a recount would be required if less than 0.5 percent separated Mitt Romney from President Obama. But as of late Thursday, Obama led Romney 49.9 percent to 49.24, not within the recount margin.
Counties have until noon Saturday to report their unofficial returns to the state. Most still have not submitted provisional ballots cast in Tuesdays election but those also will be turned in by Saturday, according to elections spokesman Chris Cate.
He said, however, that only 35,000 provisional ballots were cast statewide in 2008. And provisional returns are unlikely to have a profound effect on the presidential outcome, he said.
Despite Wests challenge, Murphy was celebrating as the winner and asked volunteers to join him at 6 p.m. Thursday at his campaigns Palm Beach Gardens field office, for a thank you reception. At the same time he was asking contributors to give to a Victory Protection Fund to help fend off Wests court challenge.
Attorneys for both candidates observed the canvassing board review ballots Thursday while dozens of workers hand-copied absentee ballots that could not be read by tabulation machines because of a printing error. It is not known how many ballots remained to be copied or reviewed but the canvassing board expected to work late into the night.
Observers at the tabulation center included members of the Enforcers motorcycle club, whose numbers include many veterans and police officers. They said the results could swing in Wests favor when the overseas military ballots are counted. West, an Army veteran, has considerable support among military voters.
The results of the military ballots will not be known until Friday, Nov. 16 the deadline for them to be received at the Supervisors office.
In St. Lucie County Circuit Court, West attorneys argued that a recount is merited because of the way a group of ballots counted around midnight Tuesday changed what had been a small West lead to a narrow Murphy advantage in the district. The St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections office clearly ignored proper rules and procedures and the scene at the supervisors office last night could only be described as complete chaos, West campaign manager Tim Edson said Wednesday.
Asked about the West campaigns complaint, St. Lucie County Elections Supervisor Gertrude Walker said, I certainly dont feel that any of it is valid . I believe that his assertions are unfounded.
In Palm Beach County, Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher and the other two members of the countys canvassing Board County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor and County Judge Caroline Shepherd intend to stay at the tabulation center to continue reviewing ballots.
Wests national following among tea party activists and other conservatives helped him raise nearly $8 million from contributors who gave less than $200 each. In all, West raised more than $17 million for the race, more than any House member this year except Speaker John Boehner and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Murphy raised $4 million for the race, one of the top figures for any Democratic House challenger this year. A variety of outside groups spent about $7 million on the race.
Staff Writers John Kennedy and George Bennett contributed to this report.
An election count “wears on” when a Republican demands it.
What the |= |_| ( |< kind of math is that?
there was a very coherent and assertive caller on glenn Beck’s show today who witnessed this fiasco as a volunteer and West supporter. He said there were a few guys sitting by themselves with no one watching at a table in the back of the room with some of the ballots and when they wanted to observe them they were told”You can’t go back there..its ‘quality control’”.
West’s attys intervened at the end of the night and had the polling place ‘quaranteened’ and locked with police tape all around it.thank Goodness West had atty’s right there.
Pray for Allen West tonight!
Flora Duh! Something is very wrong in sections of that state.
"our" kind of peasantry must fight tooth and nail...
if it takes money, Col, let us know...
the Dems will steal the election. That's how we got “senator al franken” and our stoned Gv. Dayton.