The Palm Beach Post reported on Friday afternoon that Circuit Judge Dan Vaughn has denied Republican Rep. Allen West’s request for a court-ordered recount of over 37,000 early votes in St. Lucie County. The judge said he lacked the authority to issue the desired injunction.
This leaves the immediate fate of the recount in the hands of the St. Lucie County canvassing board, which is scheduled to meet later Friday afternoon. The lead for West’s opponent, Democrat Patrick Murphy, stands at 0.58 percent, just beyond the 0.5 percent threshold that would trigger an automatic recount.
The canvassing board was originally going to perform a full recount of the early votes after some clear problems were discovered, but reversed themselves the following morning and recounted only three days’ worth of votes, out of eight days of early voting. The data from the three days in question had originally been stored on flash memory cards, but for some reason they failed when attempts were made to upload their contents. A hasty effort to re-read the optically scanned ballots from those three days was made, resulting in a statistically unlikely surge of 4,100 votes for Murphy, which put him over the top. Murphy lost a net 535 votes out of his lead during the partial recount that has already been undertaken, as it became clear that some double-counting and under-counting of ballots had occurred.
If the canvassing board doesn’t approve a recount, Judge Vaughn noted that West has 10 days after the final certification of the vote, scheduled for next Tuesday, to contest the results. If the canvassing board does go for a recount, the Murphy campaign has said it will file suit to block it.