Allen West Patrick Murphy race update, November 15, 2012, St. Lucie County Elections Supervisor Gertrude Walker flawed handling, Ballots counted twice, Ballots not counted
“Late last night Congressman West maintained a district wide lead of nearly 2000 votes until the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections “recounted” thousands of early ballots. Following that “recount” Congressman West trailed by 2,400 votes. In addition, there were numerous other disturbing irregularities reported at polls across St. Lucie County including the doors to polling places being locked when the polls closed in direct violation of Florida law, thereby preventing the public from witnessing the procedures used to tabulate results. The St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections office clearly ignored proper rules and procedures, and the scene at the Supervisor’s office last night could only be described as complete chaos. Given the hostility and demonstrated incompetence of the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, we believe it is critical that a full hand recount of the ballots take place in St. Lucie County. We will continue to fight to ensure every vote is counted properly and fairly, and accordingly we will pursue all legal means necessary.”…Allen West campaign
“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right. The obvious, the silly, and the true had got to be defended. Truisms are true, hold on to that! The solid world exists, its laws do not change. Stones are hard, water is wet, objects unsupported fall towards the earth’s centre. With the feeling that he was speaking to O’Brien, and also that he was setting forth an important axiom, he wrote:
Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”…George Orwell, “1984″
“It’s not who votes that counts, it’s who counts the votes”…Joseph Stalin
From the Palm Beach Post November 15, 2012.
“Editorial: Recount early votes in Patrick Murphy-Allen West race”
““I’m not perfect,” St. Lucie County Elections Supervisor Gertrude Walker said Tuesday. “Neither is my staff.” Given the events of the past week, it’s hard to disagree. Because of her office’s flawed handling of last week’s election, uncertainty hangs needlessly over Patrick Murphy’s stunning defeat of Rep. Allen West.
Ms. Walker was stating the obvious when she admitted fallibility at a news conference, as reported by TCPalm.com. But when you’re overseeing a congressional election whose margin of victory is less than 1 percent, there isn’t much room for error.
And Ms. Walker has admitted to a big error: double-counting some ballots cast during early voting and ignoring others. After partially recounting some of the early voting results on Sunday, her office discovered that it had double-counted the equivalent of 799 votes in the Murphy-West race and named the wrong winner in Fort Pierce’s mayoral race. The mayor’s race is now undergoing an automatic recount because the margin of victory was less than 0.5 percent. But the U.S. House District 18 race is in a sort of limbo, with Rep. West clamoring in court for all early votes to be recounted and Mr. Murphy calling for him to concede.
So troubling was the county’s performance that the state Division of Elections this week sent officials to inspect the results. A spokesman told TCPalm.com: “We are not aware of any counties experiencing the same issues as St. Lucie.” We endorsed Mr. Murphy, and few things would please us more than to see Rep. West’s two years in Congress fade like a bad dream. But he says he will not concede until St. Lucie County recounts all early votes, and we can see his point.
After Rep. West first raised questions about the handling of St. Lucie’s early vote, Ms. Walker and the county’s canvassing board agreed to recount all 37,000 ballots from the eight-day early voting period. But on Sunday, they changed, deciding instead to recount only about 16,000 ballots cast during the last three days. The reason: The problems that affected the West-Murphy race seemed confined only to those days. Sure enough, her office found problems. The discovery that some ballots were counted twice, and others not at all, narrowed Mr. Murphy’s lead by 535, to 1,907 — a 0.58 percent edge. Only a 0.50 percent margin can trigger an automatic recount.
After admitting such an egregious error, Ms. Walker wants the public to trust her when she says the problems were limited to those last three days of early voting. But she has given voters little reason for confidence. In an abundance of caution, St. Lucie County needs to recount all 37,000 early votes, not just the ones that Ms. Walker believes were problematic.
Although Ms. Walker is claiming in court that she can’t legally do a full recount, state law allows a county to double-check its tally if it thinks that the initial results might contain an error. Had the canvassing board gone ahead and done this Sunday for all the early voting ballots, everything might have been resolved. As it is, more than a week has passed since Election Day, and uncertainty hangs over the District 18 race. Only a full recounting of all early voting ballots can end the doubts that St. Lucie’s botched vote-tallying has raised.”