Florida: Congressman Joe Garcia’s chief of staff implicated in phantom absentee-ballot requests scheme | Miami Herald

Congressman Joe Garcia’s chief of staff abruptly resigned Friday after being implicated in a sophisticated scheme to manipulate last year’s primary elections by submitting hundreds of fraudulent absentee-ballot requests. Friday afternoon, Garcia said he had asked Jeffrey Garcia, no relation, for his resignation after the chief of staff — also the congressman’s top political strategist — took responsibility for the plot. Hours earlier, law enforcement investigators raided the homes of another of Joe Garcia’s employees and a former campaign aide in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation into the matter. “I’m shocked and disappointed about this,” Garcia, who said he was unaware of the scheme, told The Miami Herald. “This is something that hit me from left field. Until today, I had no earthly idea this was going on.”

National: Why Have There Been So Many Contested Elections? | NPR

After two weeks of dispute with St. Lucie County elections officials, Florida Rep. Allen West conceded the race for Florida’s 18th Congressional District to Democrat Patrick Murphy on Tuesday. Allen’s post-election battle was the most high-profile this year, but the phenomenon is by no means unusual. In today’s political climate, candidates don’t like to concede, even after the votes have been counted. Increasingly, they are taking their cases to the courts, says Joshua Douglas, an assistant professor of law at the University of Kentucky.

Florida: Allen West’s Concession Won’t End Troubles for St. Lucie County Elections | Sunshine State News

U.S. Rep. Allen West may have ended his two-week battle with election officials in St. Lucie County on Tuesday, but the Treasure Coast office will continue to face scrutiny over how it handled the election. Florida Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, vowed she will pursue correcting how the supervisor of elections office reportedly double-counted some ballots and misplaced others in West’s defeat to Democrat Patrick Murphy of Jupiter. “We’re going to move forward looking very carefully at the recommendations, seeing exactly what they say and see what went wrong with this election process in St. Lucie County,” Harrell said Tuesday.

Florida: West Concedes to Murphy | Roll Call

Florida Republican Rep. Allen B. West, one of the highest-profile and most-controversial members of the 2010 freshman class, conceded to Democrat Patrick Murphy after a nasty, brutish and long campaign. “While many questions remain unanswered, today I am announcing that I will take no further action to contest the outcome of this election,” West said in a statement Tuesday. “While a contest of the election results might have changed the vote totals, we do not have evidence that the outcome would change.” He added: “I want to congratulate my opponent, Patrick Murphy, as the new Congressman from the 18th Congressional District. I pray he will serve his constituents with honor and integrity, and put the interests of our nation before his own.”

Florida: West watch: no concession, no decision on challenging apparent Murphy win | Palm Beach Post

Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West has neither conceded nor committed to future challenges after final results from St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties on Sunday showed Democrat Patrick Murphy winning the congressional District 18 race by 1,904 votes or 0.58 percent. Murphy’s margin is just beyond the state’s 0.5 percent threshold for an automatic recount. And Murphy’s lead would be 242 votes larger if problem-plagued St. Lucie County hadn’t missed Sunday’s noon deadline for submitting final results after a recount of more than 37,000 ballots from early voting.

Florida: Murphy-West recount rhetoric reminiscent of Bush v. Gore in 2000 | Palm Beach Post

Every close and disputed election has its own unique set of facts, but all have two things in common: the candidate who’s behind wants to keep counting votes and the candidate who’s ahead wants the counting to stop. The Congressional District 18 race between Republican Rep. Allen West and unofficial Democratic victor Patrick Murphy is no exception. West, trailing by less than 1 percent, became the latest count-every-vote advocate after it became apparent that St. Lucie County bungled its initial tally of early votes. He pressed all last week for a full recount of more than 37,000 early ballots, finally got one Saturday, and appeared to have fallen 241 votes further behind Murphy when the exercise ended Sunday.

Florida: Murphy claims victory after recount deadline, West weighs challenge | The Hill

Democrat Patrick Murphy’s campaign is claiming victory in his race to unseat GOP Rep. Allen West (Fla.) on Sunday after a deadline for certifying results passed and a partial recount added votes to the challenger’s lead. But the West campaign says they are still evaluating whether to launch a legal challenge contesting the count. A partial recount of early ballots in St. Lucia Country showed Murphy gaining 242 votes, according to media reports. Before the partial recount of early ballots Sunday, Murphy was leading by 1,907 votes. A noon Sunday deadline, though, required officials to certify the result, leaving the Murphy camp to claim that the race was over.

Florida: West seeks hearing after Murphy camp declares victory when St. Lucie board misses noon deadline | Palm Beach Post

The St. Lucie County canvassing board has missed a noon deadline to file election results to the Division of Elections, prompting campaign officials for Patrick Murphy to declare the political newcomer the winner in the race for congressional District 18 race. Under Florida law, the final certified results were due from all of the state’s 67 supervisors of elections today. If the results do not arrive on time, the certified unofficial results submitted last Sunday stand. Those results have Murphy winning by 0.58 percent. A spread of less than 0.5 percent would have triggered an automatic recount. “Today at noon, it became clear Patrick Murphy will be officially certified as the next congressman from the 18th Congressional District,” Anthony Kusich, Murphy for Congressman campaign manager, said in a prepared statement issued around 12:40 p.m. “The voters have spoken and Patrick Murphy is once again the clear winner. It is beyond time to put this campaign behind us and put the interests of the people of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches first.”

Florida: Allen West court battle could last into next year | The Hill

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) indicated on Thursday that he may continue to pursue legal options if a circuit court rules against his request for a full recount on Friday. West’s request, for a full recount of all eight days of early voting in a county in the 18th District, is due to be heard in court on Friday. If the court rules against him, Democrat Patrick Murphy will likely be named the official winner of the race. But West has 10 days after the race is officially called to contest it. On Thursday, he didn’t rule out the prospect of continuing the battle.

Florida: Recount under way in West-Murphy race | Orlando Sentinel

Tens of thousands of ballots in one Florida county were painstakingly fed through scanners Saturday as U.S. Rep. Allen West clung to hope that a recount could keep the freshman Republican and conservative firebrand in Congress. A judge allowed the recount to go forward in St. Lucie County over the objections of Democrat Patrick Murphy, the unofficial winner of the race. Though the recount is not mandated by state law because Murphy’s margin of victory is above the legal threshold, St. Lucie Circuit Judge Larry Schack said either candidate could still formally contest the election if they believe it was unfair.

Florida: State Rep. Gayle Harrell Calls St. Lucie County Elections ‘A Disaster’ | Sunshine State News

An election inspection team ordered by Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner is on the ground in Fort Pierce as the city mayor’s contest has spawned the second lawsuit that questions the general election results in St. Lucie County. The three-day audit by the state Division of Elections, spurred by state Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, adds to a scene already dominated by U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Palm Beach Gardens, disputing problems encountered during early voting by the county supervisor of elections office and further adds to Florida’s history of voting problems that have earned national scorn since 2000.

Florida: West challenges results as Florida declares vote-tally over amid recounts and irregularities | Fox News

Florida Republican Rep. Allen West continues to challenge election officials’ tallies that show he has lost his re-election bid – amid wild ballot swings on Tuesday and a partial recount needed because of voting-machine problems. The Tea Party-backed West demanded a recount after the swing of votes on election night, leading Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy by roughly 2,000 votes, then trailing by 2,400 votes about 35 minutes later.

Florida: Former Florida elections chief on West-Murphy: ‘How do you get away with doing a partial recount?’ | Palm Beach Post

Former Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning, a three-decade veteran of Florida elections, says he understands why Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West would be “a little steamed” by Sunday’s disputed partial recount of early votes in St. Lucie County. A recount wasn’t required by state law because Democrat Patrick Murphy’s margin was larger than 0.5 percent. But St. Lucie County elections officials acknowledged problems with the way electronic memory cartridges of early votes were uploaded on election night and scheduled an emergency canvassing board meeting Sunday to recount all 37,379 early votes for all the races on the ballot.

Florida: Rep. West asks court to force broader recount after voting machine problems | Fox News

Florida Rep. Allen West said Tuesday he filed a circuit court complaint challenging the official result of his House race, which ended with him losing re-election by 2,442 votes. The lawsuit asks the St. Lucie County court for a preliminary injunction that would order election officials to recount early votes in the state’s 18th Congressional District and refrain from certifying the results until the process in complete. The court could not be reached late Tuesday afternoon to verify the filing.

Florida: Officials Abruptly Backtrack on Recount | Washington Times

Controversy continues in the Florida 18th Congressional District race between incumbent Republican Allen West and Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy. Florida election officials reneged on their promise to count all the early ballots in the scandal-plagued election, excluding more than half of them without clear cause. Late Saturday the St. Lucie County Canvassing Board announced an “emergency meeting” to “recount all ballots cast during early voting.”

Florida: Allen West demands recount | POLITICO.com

Florida Rep. Allen West on Wednesday demanded a recount as his bid for reelection remained too close to call, with the tea party Republican trailing his Democratic opponent by fewer than 3,000 votes. Patrick Murphy has 160,328 votes, or 50.4 percent, to West’s 157,782 votes, or 49.6 percent, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press, which has yet to call the race. West, who warned before the election of “nefarious actions” by Democrats, suggested a county election supervisor was trying to rig the election.