True the Vote, the nation’s leading nonpartisan effort encouraging citizens to protect our election process, has demanded the St. Lucie county poll books in Florida’s 18th district -- the district of Congressman Allen West.
True the Vote submitted formal requests to review all voter registration records, including poll books, to St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertude Walker on December 19th.
The requests for information come in the aftermath of a heated recount battle between Congressman West and his Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy. The recount, though only partial and plagued with roadblocks from the county, resulted in a win for Murphy, and West conceded.
Among the concerns Congressman West had with the county’s handling of the election were issues such as St. Lucie county officials admitting to hastily releasing vote tallies to media, failing to count half the precincts on election night, and some precincts had been double counted by county officials.
All official investigations into the debacle ceased when Congressman West conceded the election to Murphy. However, federal law allows citizen-led efforts to lead their own investigations into what occurred. Much of the information Congressman West requested was denied by St. Lucie county officials. The Freedom of Information Act could provide for citizens to obtain the information West was denied.
True the Vote’s founder and president, Catherine Engelbrecht, committed her organization to performing a county-wide audit of all registration records for the 2012 elections and stated:
Florida voters deserve a full, unfiltered explanation of the facts. We cannot know whether all the votes add up unless all the relevant information is made available for public inspection. Our goal is to fully deconstruct this episode so that this type of travesty won’t happen again. It’s unacceptable to allow flawed counting systems to remain in place because a candidate concedes a race. Faith in the American election system has been shaken enough in recent years – the people of Florida and our Republic deserve better.
It remains to be seen how St. Lucie county officials will respond to the recent requests for information by True the Vote. The St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections office has not yet responded to a request for comment.