True the Vote announced the filing of a lawsuit for public access to election records in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. In a prepared statement available on the organization’s website, True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht explained steps that have been taken by True the Vote volunteers to audit the results of the controversial contest between then-incumbent Congressman Allen West and challenger Patrick Murphy.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Pierce, Florida, is based in part on Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, commonly known as the Motor Voter Act. The complaint filed with the court says:
Under Section 8 of the NVRA, election officials “shall maintain for at least 2 years and shall make available for public inspection and, where available, photocopying at a reasonable cost, all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters”
The complaint alleges:
Allen West, Republican candidate for the 18th Congressional District maintained a small but steady lead on the night of November 6, 2012. Shortly after midnight, a batch of early votes from St. Lucie County was tallied, giving Democratic candidate Patrick Murphy the lead by more than 2,000 votes. When pressed about the late tallied batch of early votes, Defendant Walker noted that the tabulating machines had been unable to read the electronic memory cartridges containing the ballot counts from early voting sites, forcing poll workers to manually feed the paper ballots through the scanners at the elections office later than planned. The sudden and unanticipated lead change late in the evening, coupled with the Supervisor’s admission that there had been a machine failure, created concern that some of the early vote ballots in St. Lucie County had been counted twice.
The complaint also alleges, in paragraphs 22 through 24, the following events happened, starting approximately nine minutes before the November 18 noon deadline for certifying the election results:
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