Fiery congressman Allen West refused to concede defeat Wednesday and has filed a lawsuit demanding a full recount of votes in his Florida district
after his efforts to get re-elected to the House of Representatives appeared to fall some 2,500 votes short.
The Republican's lawsuit
, filed in court in Palm Beach County, called for paper ballots to be counted and voting machines “impounded.”
A recount of early votes flipped the results from 2,000 in his favor to a win for Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy, West’s campaign manager Tim Edson alleged in a press release the day after the election.
“This race is far from decided and there is no rush to declare an outcome,” Edson said. “Ensuring a fair and accurate counting of all ballots is of the utmost importance.”
Though a winner has not officially been declared, with all precincts reporting, Murphy garnered 160,328 votes to West’s 157,872, a difference of 2,456, according to the official results
The state of Florida requires that election results be within 0.5 of a percentage point to trigger an automatic recount. The 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent result of Tuesday’s election, a 0.9 difference, is not close enough for that to happen.
West’s suit seeks specifically to prevent any tampering with ballots or machines as he works with St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker on recounting votes.
In the release, Edson claims the recount flipped the election, as did “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,” Edson said, “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."
Provisional and absentee ballots have not yet been counted, but there are not enough to swing the election back to West, reported the Palm Beach Post, which caused Murphy to claim victory in the race on Wednesday.
"I think we won because the voters spoke, they are tired of the extremism and the divisiveness, and they want someone willing to put the country first," Murphy said. "That's what we represent, that's what this campaign is all about and that's who I am."
On Tuesday night, state Sen. Joe Negron, who acted as spokesman for West as results came in, said the result Murphy was celebrating was not necessarily final because of the campaign’s concerns.
“In all likelihood we will not have final results in this race until [Wednesday] or possibly Thursday,” Negron said.
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