UPDATE [11:00 a.m. EST]: This morning, Allen West finally conceded to his challenger Rep. Patrick Murphy. West released a statement saying his legal team “does not believe there are enough over-counted, undercounted, or fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election.” So while the race has finally been put to rest it’s disappointing that West continues to invoke the possibility of voter fraud among his electorate. While there have been snafus and questionable activity on the part of poll workers, there’s not been any evidence of fraudulent votes. So, it’s not enough to say his campaign “does not believe there are enough … fraudulent votes” to change the outcome. He needs to be honest with voters and say there has been no proof of voter fraud to begin with.
It’s roughly 12 days since Election Day and African-American Tea Party Rep. Allen West still has not conceded a loss in his race against the Democrat Patrick Murphy. In that race, where conservative SuperPACs and advocacy groups like Americans for Prosperity poured over $17 million in for West over Murphy’s $4 million, Murphy came out the unofficial winner by a very slim margin, less than 1 percent of the votes. But a number of voter machine malfunctions and other maladies led to the West campaign demanding a recount, which was granted by a canvassing board, especially after 306 uncounted ballots turned up.
That recount was executed over the weekend with a legal requirement for an official count to be turned in by Sunday at noon. But the St. Lucie County Canvassing Board wasn’t done recounting by that time, so the victory remains with Murphy. When the recount was finished around 2 p.m. yesterday, it turned out that Murphy had an even wider margin of victory — 2,146 more ballots than West.
But West isn’t conceding as of noon today, and is exploring a few Hail Mary options described below by the Palm Beach Post:
West’s options are limited. Shortly after noon, his legal team began discussing an emergency exemption in the law that permits final returns to be filed after the deadline. That exemption defines emergency as any occurrence “that results or may result in substantial injury or harm to the population or substantial damage to or loss of property to the extent it will prohibit an election officer’s ability to conduct a safe and orderly election.”
West, R-Palm Beach Gardens, also could challenge the official results using a rarely used law that allows the loser to contest the final results after all the ballots have been certified. Under that law, unsuccessful candidates or taxpayers living in the district can challenge the results by filing a legal complaint by Nov. 30 — that is, within 10 days of the final certification, which will happen Tuesday.
The complaint, called an election contest, can be filed only under several strict conditions: misconduct, fraud, bribery or corruption by an election official; the winner is not eligible for office; illegal votes or rejection of enough legal votes to change or create doubt in the results. West’s legal team declined to say whether an election contest would be filed.
There has been some voter weirdness — like a cartridge of votes from one precinct that wouldn’t load results, which ended up holding up the recount process that pushed them past the deadline. But there’s been no evidence of fraud or corruption. Still, True the Vote, which has been cheering hard for Rep. Allen West all along, is on the premises and wants everybody to know that they are “watching these recount proceedings very closely, as should every American who values the sanctity of their vote.”
They also said: “Secretary Detzner, Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi have shown great leadership on a national scale in promoting election integrity. The State of Florida takes great care in ensuring that voter rolls are maintained in accordance with federal election laws and has also committed to prosecuting interstate voter fraud.”
That’s not what our reporting has shown in Florida
But if an unsuccessful candidate ends up not challenging the results, sounds like there might be some taxpayer Vote Truthers who will.