This weekend’s recount of early votes in St. Lucie County, FL raised more questions about the validity of the election results. First, on Saturday night, election officials stopped the recount and delayed finishing with only 304 votes left to count.
Strangely, these 304 votes showed up late in boxes, and they had never been counted:
Election officials insisted that these new votes had not been missing, but the ballots had “never been read.” Instead of counting these mere 304 votes immediately, canvasing board officials insisted that the building had to be closed and counting resumed Sunday morning.
Fast forward to Sunday morning. Even more irregularities begin showing up.
from the Palm Beach Post:
Preliminary totals showed 900 voters cast ballots in Precinct 93, where only seven voters are registered, Edson said. Another lingering concern is the West team’s request to view the poll sign-in sheets from Election Day. Edson said they had received some sign-in sheets from Palm Beach County but none from St. Lucie County. West’s campaign wants to compare the number of signatures on the poll sign-in sheets to the computer tabulations.
“Today’s actions cast an even greater cloud of suspicion over the results of St. Lucie County than existed before,” Edson said in a statement. “This election is far from over.”
Noticeably absent Sunday was Gertrude Walker, the St. Lucie County supervisor of elections. Walker was hospitalized last week amid legal wrangling over whether the ballots should be recounted.
With only 304 votes left to count, the canvassing board began at 8am Sunday. Despite the early start, the board still managed to miss a 12pm deadline for finishing the recount.
from the New York Times:
Election officials missed a deadline on Sunday to report results of a two-day recount in Representative Allen B. West’s bid to remain in Congress, apparently sealing unofficial results giving the victory to his Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy.
St. Lucie County did not meet a noon cutoff to finish processing 37,379 ballots that were cast early in the 18th Congressional District race, but it eventually released the results, which showed Mr. Murphy gaining votes in the recount. Regardless, under Florida law, previously submitted results favoring Mr. Murphy will be certified unless an emergency exemption is granted by the state.
So, despite the fact that the recount clearly showed that the initial tally was significantly off, and despite the fact that St. Lucie County officials admitted that during the initial election night tally “mistakes were made,” election officials are moving forward with certifying the initial count and completely disregarding the recount.
Let me repeat that: St. Lucie County election officials know for a fact that the election night totals are inaccurate, but they’re moving ahead to certify those results.
The Allen West campaign is not done fighting yet. His campaign managers indicate that they will pursue every legal option available to them to ensure that the election results are accurate.
At this point, it shouldn’t be about who wins or loses. It’s about making sure that the election results are accurate and trustworthy.