Allen West recount request, Disturbing Irregularities At Polls, West filed motion against Palm Beach County Election Board, West lead changed by recount
“I watched the two uniformed men confront voters and attempt to intimidate voters. They were positioned in a location that forced every voter to pass in close proximity to them. The weapon was openly displayed and brandished in plain sight of voters.” “you are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker.”…Bartle Bull, civil rights lawyer
“the organization has come under intense scrutiny because of its voter registration practices. In several states voter registration forms have been found to include nonexistent or dead people. Some registrants have told elections officials they completed multiple cards at the urging of ACORN canvassers who claimed they would be fired if they did not meet a daily quota for signing up new voters.”…Catholic News Service. Oct. 16, 2008
From the Huffington Post November 7, 2012.
“Allen West Recount Request Suggests ‘Disturbing Irregularities’ At Polls”
“Though several outlets had declared the race between Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) and Democrat Patrick Murphy a victory for Murphy as of Wednesday morning, with Murphy even accepting the congressional seat in a statement, West has so far refused to concede.
And West’s campaign isn’t pleased that people keep saying he’s out, according to a statement posted on his Facebook page Wednesday morning:
Our race is far from decided and there is no rush to declare an outcome. Ensuring a fair and accurate counting off all ballots is of the utmost importance. There are still tens of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted in Palm Beach County and potential provisional ballots across the district. 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.
Murphy is leading West 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent with 100 percent of the votes counted, according to HuffPost Pollster — with 160,328 votes to 157,862. The district is the only House race in Florida that has yet to be called.”
From CBS Miami November 7, 2012.
“Rep. Allen West Heads To Court Over Vote Count”
“Republican Congressman Allen West appears to have lost his bid for re-election in District 18 to Democrat Patrick Murphy. But West isn’t going down without a fight.
Wednesday, West filed a motion to have paper ballots counted and to impound voting machines and all paper ballots cast. The motion was filed against the Palm Beach County Election Board.
West’s attorney’s also asked that any “voting machines and any associated equipment or documentary or record evidence, used in connection with the Election in this Election District be impounded to prevent further voting and/or to declare the intent of voters for votes cast on the Voting Machines.”
In the filing, West attorney’s said they “pray” that the court would grant the motion.
Murphy is clinging to a small lead in his quest to oust West and West’s campaign manager said Wednesday they want a recount in St. Lucie County.
Murphy, the political newcomer, put out a statement early Wednesday declaring victory in the race. West’s campaign hasn’t conceded and released this comment Wednesday.
“This race is far from decided and there is no rush to declare an outcome. Ensuring a fair and accurate counting of all ballots is of the utmost importance. There are still tens of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted in Palm Beach County and potential provisional ballots across the district,” according to West’s campaign manager Tim Edson.
The Associated Press has not yet called the race because it remains incredibly close.
With 100-percent of precincts reporting, Murphy had 160,328 votes, or 50.4 percent, to West’s 157,782 votes, or 49.6 percent. The two candidates were separated by about 2,400 ballots.
Edson’s statement went on, “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. “
West said he will not comment further until after the court case is decided, according to CBS4′s Carey Codd.
Murphy’s slight lead is outside the margin that would require a recount in the Sunshine State.
“If the percentage does not fit within the statutory criteria for recounts, there exists no statutory mechanism for a candidate, group, or anyone else to have a recount done by the state or any supervisor of elections,” Florida elections spokesman Chris Cate told CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.
Cate continued, “Also, we will not know if a recount is within the required percentage until we receive the first set of unofficial returns from each of the counties involved. They are not due until noon, Saturday.”
The Palm Beach Post reports provisional and absentee ballots in Democratic-leaning Palm Beach County still need to be counted. Murphy’s campaign manager told the newspaper the outstanding ballots weren’t enough to overturn the results.
Representative West is a freshman Republican known across the country for his fiery tea party rhetoric. He has been one of the most outspoken conservatives in Washington, famously saying he knew dozens of Communists in the government.
Democrats had been targeting West’s office to flip. West had raised much more money than Murphy, roughly a 4-1 margin, throughout the campaign capitalizing on his national name recognition.
Twenty-nine-year-old Murphy is a construction executive making his first run for office.”
From the Tampa Bay News October 25, 2012.
“FBI launches investigation into fraudulent Florida voter letters”
“The FBI confirmed Wednesday it is investigating fraudulent letters that falsely tell eligible Florida voters they may no longer be U.S. citizens and that they could go to prison if they cast a ballot in the Nov. 6 election.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which launched an investigation Tuesday, the Department of State, local supervisors of elections and the U.S. Postal Service will assist the FBI, said agency spokesman David Couvertier.
“We’re trying to figure out what the trend is, if a specific group of voters was targeted or if it was random,” Couvertier said. “What was the motive? Was it a statement or something done to influence the election?”
Beginning Friday, voters throughout the state started receiving letters in envelopes with a Seattle postmark. The letters all have the same type of letterhead, with the American flag as a backdrop to a silhouette of a bald eagle in the upper left corner. The sender swapped out the name of the supervisor of elections depending on which county they were received. As of Wednesday, the letters were sent to at least 28 counties, according to Division of Elections spokesman Chris Cate.
The letters inform recipients they have 15 days to fill out a voter eligibility form and return it to the elections office. If they don’t, they’ll be removed from the voter rolls, the letter warns.
State officials have interpreted the letters to be a voter intimidation tactic, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in jail for each offense, or each letter sent. The FBI would examine federal offenses, including mail fraud.
“We don’t know the extent of the activity yet,” Couvertier said. “We’re looking at everything from civil rights violations to potentially voter fraud and everything in between.”
Couvertier said the Tampa FBI office is working in concert with the other agencies. It covers 18 counties, including Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas, all of which got the letters.
Cate said the best estimate of the number of letters sent are “dozens.” The recipients so far tend to be Republican, frequent voters, who may even contribute to campaigns. Ion Sancho, Leon County’s supervisor of elections, has speculated that the names may have been lifted from a donor list. Jacksonville City Council president Bill Bishop, former U.S. Ambassador John Rood, and Lenny Curry, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, all got one.
But there are exceptions. Of the eight people to receive the letters in Pinellas, half are Republican.
The hoax is a puzzling one. If the letters were meant to intimidate people from voting, why were they sent to leaders of the Republican Party, where they’re easier to detect?
“There are a lot of theories out there,” Couvertier said. “We’ll be going through them one by one.”
Anyone who got a letter is asked to call the Tampa FBI field office at 1-866-838-1153