Just over a month ago, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) packed up his Capitol Hill office and departed Congress, bringing a conclusion to a prolonged electoral process that included two partial recounts and continued accusations from the Tea Party firebrand's camp that election officials had botched the whole thing.
With West's short congressional career in the rearview, True the Vote, a Tea Party-aligned voter integrity group known for its controversial "poll-watching" efforts, filed a federal lawsuit on Monday seeking to pick up the ball that the congressman dropped when he conceded the race to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy in November.
West yielded the tight contest to Murphy nearly three weeks after Election Day, when a final tally concluded that vote-counting inaccuracies would not have changed the race's outcome. Despite the concession, West later claimed that Murphy had to "cheat to beat me."
True the Vote has joined with Tea Party Coordinator Pam Wohlschlegel in the suit, which claims that St. Lucie County Elections Supervisor Gertrude Walker has failed to turn over public records related to the race. In their complaint, the group claims that the 1993 Motor Voter Law grants them permission to "publicly inspect and examine all voter registration and election records" in question.
In a statement, True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht argued that the nature of the race -- in which election officials have acknowledged vote-counting flaws -- warranted a "comprehensive, outside audit" of the final results.
“This dramatic recount was an extraordinary example of how our elections can suffer systematic failure,” said Engelbrecht. “We run the risk seeing episodes like this becoming ordinary if citizens do not demand answers and hold election officials accountable. The American people own the voting system -- we have the right to ask tough questions when we witness the failure of one of America’s core functions.”
Speaking with Breitbart, Engelbrecht also claimed that the move was not an attempt to somehow reverse West's loss, but rather to investigate whether illegal votes may have been cast on Election Day.
“This has nothing to do with politics," she said. "Recounts are going to be a fact of life as long as America remains so polarized. We have a chance to learn what exactly went wrong in St. Lucie County and whether the election was decided only by those entitled to participate. We have an opportunity to educate others on how to avoid costly mistakes from being made in the future. Some folks may not feel that this is worth fighting over. We cannot wait for this kind of injustice to spread until all Americans demand better.”
True the Vote drew scrutiny in the lead up to the November election over allegations that its electoral integrity campaign was focused on impeding the voting process for those in minority-heavy precincts.