Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., has unofficially lost his seat in Congress after a partial recount of ballots in St. Lucie County proved the initial count was inaccurate - though not enough to flip the results - which send Patrick Murphy to Washington in January.
The Democratic challenger clung to a 1,907-vote lead, putting him 0.57 percent ahead of West, which narrowly prevented the state of Florida from requiring a recount of every vote in the race for the state’s 18th Congressional district, WPTV reported.
The state ordered county elections officials to recount ballots from machines which had memory card problems on election day, according to St. Lucie County Assistant Attorney Heather Young.
Both candidates vote totals went down after the recount, with Murphy losing 667 votes and West losing 132.
“What's going on today is a sham," said Tim Edson, West's campaign manager said in a press release. "It does nothing to resolve our concerns... What was originally viewed as dangerous incompetence on the part of [St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections] Gertrude Walker now appears more and more like a willful attempt to steal the election for Patrick Murphy.”
The West campaign plans to continue legal action “to ensure a fair election, not only to ensure Gertrude Walker is held accountable, but also ultimately replaced, so the citizens of St. Lucie County will be ensured fair and accurate elections," he said.
Edson and West accused Walker and officials in the county were incompetent on election day and that jarring irregularities raised concerns for them that ballots were being counted unfairly.
Last Wednesday, less than 24 hours after polls closed, the campaign filed for ballots and voting machines to be held untouched as they filed legal motions to force a full recount. Edson wanted all early voting ballots to be recounted, however the county only reviewed ballots from three of the eight days that votes were cast before election day.
Though state officials required St. Lucie to recount ballots fed through machines that had memory card problems, a full recount is only required by Florida law if candidates in a race are separated by 0.5 percent of the vote or less.
West has not conceded, and the race has not officially been called by the supervisors of elections in the three counties that make up the 18th district.
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