Congressman Allen West, along with eight other named plaintiffs who were early voters in St. Lucie County in Florida, filed a complaint today in Circuit Court in St. Lucie County. The complaint asks the Court to immediately issue a preliminary injunction ordering Defendant Gertrude Walker, as St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, and Defendant Dan Detzner, as Florida Secretary of State, to convene the St. Lucie County Canvassing Board for the purpose of counting all votes cast in the election for the 18th Congressional District during the early voting period, and ordering Defendants to refrain from certifying results of the election for the 18th Congressional District until all ballots cast during the early voting period have been counted.
The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board met on Sunday, November 11, 2012 for the stated purpose of recounting “all ballots cast during early voting.” This “refeed” was not conducted pursuant to Florida’s automatic recount statute, but rather as part of the canvassing process. The Canvassing Board, however, re-fed only ballots cast on three days during the early voting period. This limited, partial re-feed – not conducted pursuant to any statute – uncovered significant errors in the initial tabulation of votes. Nearly 1,000 votes disappeared from the count, and neither the Canvassing Board nor the Supervisor provided any explanation for this selective recount. Despite publicly announcing a hearing for the purposes of re-feeding all early votes, counsel for the Canvassing Board advised publicly that “Tallahassee” recommended counting only those specific three days – all without providing information as to who advised a selective re-feed or the basis for doing so.
It stands to reason that if the remaining early votes were to be recounted, additional errors would be uncovered and the tabulation of votes revised accordingly. Until these remaining early ballots are recounted, however, the Canvassing Board has arbitrarily applied differing counting standards to similarly situated ballots. The erroneous decision of St. Lucie County to “re-feed” only some of the early votes cast in this election violates the Florida Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection to voters.
In addition, the County has violated both the Florida Open Meeting Law, Florida Sunshine Law and the Florida Constitution by meeting behind closed doors and without providing the required notice to the public.
For more information on the state of Florida’s involvement with the case read : State ‘concerned’ about St. Lucie County results in West-Murphy race, sending staff to assess
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