A Palm Beach County Circuit Court judge on Friday denied Republican congressman Allen West’s motion to impound ballots and voting machines from his apparent narrow loss to Democrat challenger Patrick Murphy.
In handing down his decision, Circuit Court Judge David F. Crow said West’s motion “fell woefully short of what’s required,” adding that the Legislature is in charge of election laws while the courts are meant to interpret them.
West demanded a “full hand recount” early Wednesday morning after several irregularities were reported in the voting process. For example, the Tea Party favorite was ahead by 2,000 votes late Tuesday night, until the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections “recounted” thousands of early ballots. Following that “recount,” Congressman West trailed by 2,400 votes.
Judge Crow said there was no evidence any statute had been breached.
“Obviously, it’s nonsenical for me to enter an order requiring them to comply with the law,” Judge Crow said. “Unless there’s evidence they’re not.”
A ballot recount in predominately-Democrat Palm Beach County showed West ahead of Murphy by 300 votes.
“Ballot printing errors led to ballots that could not be fed through scanners in some areas, so Florida election workers have been forced to reproduce their contents onto new ballots that can be read properly,” the source, who is observing the Palm Beach County recount, said.
Earlier on Friday, West wrote a letter to the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, in which he expressed “serious concerns” over the vote-counting process there. In the two-page letter to Gertrude Walker, West alleges discrepancies in voter totals based on a “malfunction” happening to the computer reading early voter ballots.
Walker blasted the letter as a “low blow” and refused to respond further to local television news outlet WPBF.
West took office in January 2011 as the first black Republican Congressman from Florida since Josiah T. Walls left office in 1876 near the end of Reconstruction. Redistricting put West into the Florida’s 18th congressional district for the 2012 election.