Judge Dan Vaughn in St. Lucie County has ruled that under Florida statutes, he does not have the authority to either to grant the plaintiff (Allen West) their request for a full recount of early votes in this race, or to order the canvassing board of St. Lucie County to do so.
This hearing is taking place on the same day that the St. Lucie Canvassing Board is deciding whether to do a partial or full retabulation of early votes cast ahead of election day.
UPDATE: Apropos of nothing, I found it amusing that Judge Vaughn has a small figurine of a pug dog wrapped in an American flag sitting on prominent display in front of him for all to see. Hee hee!
For more, pat the Judge's pug on the head, and leap over the orange squiggle of justice.
Today's hearing in St. Lucie County, Florida was specifically tied to early voting ballots cast as well as absentee ballots:
Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West‘s attorneys this morning amended their request for a recount of more than 37,000 ballots cast during early voting in St. Lucie County to also include a request to recount about 37,000 absentee ballots from the county.Judge Vaughn's ruling indicated that the plaintiffs (West) did not meet the requirements for a temporary injunction, and that he did not have the authority to grant his request, nor to bind the canvassing board proceedings. From the Palm Beach Post:
A hearing is set for 1 p.m. before St. Lucie County Circuit Judge Dan Vaughn.
Unofficial returns show Democrat Patrick Murphy leading West by 1,907 votes or 0.58 percent. West has not conceded, citing admitted errors by the St. Lucie County elections office in tallying early votes on election night. Elections Supervisor Gertrude Walker says those problems, which included double-counting some ballots and failing to count others, were rectified in a partial recount Sunday and no further recounts are needed.
In an amended complaint filed this morning, the West campaign says its review of absentee ballot records shows “significant problems” with those ballots as well the early votes. The West camp says that in some precincts, the number of absentee votes recorded exceeds the number of voters who are listed as casting absentee ballots.
A judge today denied U.S. Rep. Allen West‘s request that he order a recount of 37,379 ballots from early voting in St. Lucie County — effectively leaving the decision up to the county’s canvassing board, which meets today at 4 p.m.The saga continues.....we'll have to see what color smoke comes out of the chimney over at the St. Lucie County canvassing board a bit later today.
Circuit Judge Dan Vaughn said he did not have the authority to order the recount, which West wanted after problems emerged in the counting of early votes on election night.
After West filed his complaint Tuesday in St. Lucie County circuit court, the canvassing board on Thursday scheduled a meeting for this afternoon to consider a full recount of early votes.
UPDATE X2: Rec list, yay! Thanks guys.
I'm keeping and eye out for the results of the St. Lucie County canvassing board meeting, but nothing has turned up yet. I'll post as soon as there's more information on that, however there is now information that West is running like a whiny kid to Governor Voldemort's office to see if he'll help him out.
Florida Democrats aren't having any of it:
Top Florida Democrats sounded the alarm Friday over what they see as improper interference by Gov. Rick Scott in U.S. Rep. Allen West’s attempt to hold onto his congressional seat.Debbie Wasserman Schultz's statement on the matter says in part:
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, flatly asserted in a statement that the Republican governor is attempting to interfere in the contest between Republican West and Democrat Patrick Murphy.
A spokesman for Scott's secretary of state denied the Democrats' assertions.
"Having Governor Scott intervene is outrageous and inappropriate. After disenfranchising Florida voters by cutting down early voting days and creating extraordinarily long lines at the polls, Governor Scott is now trying to blatantly overturn an election result he disagreed with and undermine Gertrude Walker, a three-decade veteran of the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections office. Governor Scott needs to remove himself from this process immediately."