Allen West motion on ballots denied

Nov. 9, 2012 at 2:05 PM
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FORT PIERCE, Fla., Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A Florida judge Friday denied U.S. Rep. Allen West's motion to impound ballots and voting machines for a possible recount in West's congressional district race.

Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge David F. Crow ruled West's motion was premature because no official result has been announced in the one-term incumbent's race against Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy. Crow said the motion "fell woefully short of what's required" to grant an injunction, the Fort Pierce Tribune reported.

Crow said there was no evidence any statute had been violated, the newspaper said.

The most recent count in Florida's 18th District showed Murphy with a lead of about 0.66 percent -- larger than the 0.5 percent differential required to trigger a recount under Florida law, the Palm Beach Post reported.

West, first elected in 2010 and a favorite of the Tea Party, filed a similar motion in St. Lucie County.

Ken Spillias, an attorney for Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher argued granting West's motion would be an "invitation for judicial intervention in the middle of an election is nothing short of an invitation to chaos."

"What [West] proposes would offer any candidate the ability to halt the counting of votes and throw the entire system into disarray the moment that candidate believes that he or she is behind in the vote count," Spillias wrote. "There is no emergency. No results have been certified, no winner had been declared. And no one is taking office tomorrow."

A lawyer for West said the campaign was "very happy" because the elections office had assured a transparent counting process. Nevertheless, the West campaign called on volunteers to monitor the county elections warehouse and look for signs of irregularities, the Post said.

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