NBC MIAMI – The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board on Friday ordered a recount of early voting ballots in the race between Republican Congressman Allen West and Democrat Patrick Murphy, hours after a judge declined to do the same.
The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board voted 2-1 late Friday in favor of the move in the 18th Congressional District contest, in which Murphy is the unofficial victor. A series of tabulation errors by the county has raised suspicion among West’s campaign and its supporters and appeared to motivate the board’s favorable vote.
It was a victory for West, delivered just after a defeat for the Republican congressman and conservative firebrand in the courtroom. But whether it will change the result in the race, in which Murphy has a lead of 1,907 votes, remained to be seen.
“There really wasn’t any basis in the law for the decision they made,” said Murphy attorney Sean Domnick. “It really doesn’t change anything. He is the representative for District 18 and he will continue to be.”
The canvassing board declined to order a recount of absentee ballots, which West’s campaign had sought. The recount — technically being referred to as a retabulation — was set for Saturday.
Earlier, St. Lucie Circuit Judge Dan Vaughn said he had no authority to order a recount and that West’s campaign could contest the election if they are unsatisfied with its results.
“I appreciate the significance of this,” the judge said three times before ruling against West.
After the ruling, Murphy’s campaign called West’s ongoing efforts “political stunts.”
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