Election officials in St. Lucie County will recount early votes cast in the hotly contested race for Florida’s 18th district’s House seat between Tea Party favorite Rep. Allen West and his challenger, Democrat Patrick Murphy.
The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board announced late Saturday it had set an “emergency meeting” to start at 7 a.m. Sunday at its headquarters, to “recount all ballots cast during early voting.” The number of early ballots is estimated by officials to be roughly 37,000.
West, who has refused to concede the race, is currently trailing Murphy by 2,442 votes, according to the latest results from Florida Division of Elections. On its website, the agency says West has garnered 164,448 votes to Murphy’s 166,890.
“There are possible irregularities in St. Lucie County,” claims Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a Florida lawyer volunteering for the West campaign who has been quoted on the issue. “On Sunday we’ll have a chance to recount the early votes and that’s a good start to preserving the integrity of the democratic process.”
West’s campaign said in a Saturday statement it was pleased with the news of the partial recount.
“This decision should help shed light on the situation of this election,” the statement said. “This is the action we were seeking to ensure the results of this election were fair and accurate.”
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