7:20 AM – A split St. Lucie County canvassing board Friday night voted to recount all of the county’s early ballots for the District 18 race, a decision Allen West ‘s team applauded and Patrick Murphy ‘s called illegal.
The decision came after a state elections auditor found a box of 306 early ballots that never were counted. David Drury, head of the Division of Elections Bureau of Voting Systems Certifications on hand for the audit, made a “personal” recommendation that the board rerun ballots from five early voting days that hadn’t been counted. The board decided instead to count all eight days, which includes three days that had been recounted.
Drury and two more state auditors are studying St. Lucie’s elections practices and will write a report on their findings at a time to be determined.
In the tight District 18 race that narrowly favored Democrat Murphy, the legal tussle started in a St. Lucie County courtroom and ended with the canvassing board deciding to recount all early ballots. The retabulation kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday at the supervisor of elections office, with a tight window to finish since the board has to finalize results to send to the state by Sunday at noon. The state certifies all races Tuesday.
Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker wasn’t on hand and spent the night in the hospital, said her attorney Cynthia Angelos.
During about an hourlong court hearing, Judge Dan Vaughn denied a motion by West, R-Palm Beach Gardens, to order a recount of all 37,379 early ballots. Vaughn ruled he didn’t have authority to call for a recount, but said his decision didn’t “bind the canvassing board from doing what they think is appropriate in these circumstances.”