- Law Cases
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 18, 2012) — 12:48 p.m. – Fox News announced moments ago that the St. Lucie Canvassing Board “missed” the noon deadline to recount and certify all early votes in the race between Patrick Murphy and Allen West. Murphy will be certified as the winner “unless an emergency exemption is granted by the state.”
Why the county was unable to complete the recount in time is unclear. Murphy has declared himself the winner. His attorneys had objected to the full early ballot recount on the grounds that it was “illegal.” One attorney had said that “We just want the law to be followed” by certifying the existing results prior to the recount this weekend.
Rep. Allen West contends that a recount of the early votes could make a difference as to whether or not he or Murphy assumes the seat in Congress. Murphy has already attended orientation this week in Washington.
West’s campaign has accused Gertrude Walker, Supervisor of Elections in St. Lucie County, of breaking the law. Walker had conducted a partial recount of early votes last Sunday which narrowed the margin between the two candidates but was not close enough to the state-mandated margin which would have triggered a full recount.
Fox’s Shannon Bream stated that Florida law mandating certification of the votes by today at noon required St. Lucie County to certify Murphy the winner since he had emerged with more votes in the general election. She stated that that meant that it “was as if the recount never happened.”
Update, 12:58 p.m.: The West campaign has stated that it will challenge the lost recount effort “with all legal options that are available.” West campaign manager Tim Edson stated that in a precinct consisting of seven registered voters, 900 ballots were counted.
An article purportedly from the Sun-Sentinel declared “2 hours, 49 minutes ago” that Murphy was the “presumed winner,” although at that time, the recount was not finished. The screenshot was taken at approximately 1:04 p.m. EST.
The article is time-stamped 12:46 p.m. EST, but still bears the “2 hours, 49 minutes ago” subheading in the search. The results presumably would not have been available at that time if votes were still being counted up until noon.
An article from a different source stated at 9:50 a.m. EST that the recount had been “nearing completion.”
The West campaign has gone to court to request an emergency hearing. Edson also had concerns about the way in which ballots were tallied during the general election of November 6 in Palm Beach County.