Allen West ahead in PBC, final vote count grinds to a halt as supervisor huddles with lawyers

west resultsThe first unofficial results of the Congressional District 18 race puts Allen West ahead by one hundred eighty five votes in Palm Beach County (68,314 West – 68,129 Patrick Murphy), with some uncertainty remaining about the final count, sources at the Riviera Beach tabulation center said Saturday.

Controversy still hovers over St. Lucie County, where the congressman was trailing by several thousand votes. The West campaign is looking for answers to questions of impropriety surrounding the counting of some of those ballots (see media release).

Attorneys late Friday night told BizPac Review that the first unofficial certification, required by law, had Democrat Patrick Murphy winning. But election officials have until Thursday to provide a final certified count that will include military and overseas ballots.

West’s supporters stuck it out until the end of counting Friday, remaining at the facility until the wee hours of Saturday morning. More than a dozen supporters, many of whom had been there all day, stayed to make sure they watched every vote tabulated.

Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher created what several volunteers called a hostile environment, including rude treatment and threats to kick observers off the premises. Bucher told reporters she was coming down with a cold and had been functioning on very little sleep.

While The Palm Beach Post announced “certain victory” for West Saturday morning, Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a volunteer attorney with the West campaign, said the count will not be  over until questions are answered about voting machine malfunctions and improper handling of ballots.

Counting will continue in St. Lucie County on Wednesday, sources said, but it is not clear yet what types of ballots are being counted.

West for Congress campaign manager Tim Edson issued the following statement regarding the chaos in the St. Lucie County Board of Elections offices.

 “Our campaign is awaiting the results of the final vote counts of military ballots in St. Lucie County, but the process has completely ground to a halt as Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker huddles behind closed doors with her key staff and county attorney. Three days later, we are still awaiting basic answers to basic questions.

 West for Congress is still demanding answers to a series of questions regarding the claimed “malfunction” of memory cards used in the optical scanners in the first three days of early voting, as well as discrepancies in the numbers of ballots cast compared to how many voters voted, but no response has been forthcoming. 

 It is just curious that all of a sudden at 12:00 a.m on Wednesday morning, the county decided to re-run a number of early voting ballots, taking West’s tally from up 1,700 vs. Murphy  to down 2,400. A key question that needs to be answered is, does the poll book count match the votes cast?

The fact that Walker has been huddling behind closed doors with her attorney, rather than completing the vote count, is disconcerting to say the least. If you have nothing to hide, you don’t hide.”

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About Michele Kirk

Michele Kirk is a writer, editor, and field reporter for BizPac Review. Michele can be reached at michele@bizpacreview.com & @michelekirkbpr