Is Allen West Suggesting the House Refuse to Seat Murphy?


Earlier today, POLITICO reported that Rep. Allen West has fallen even further behind in the Florida recount for his reelection bid.

Florida Rep. Allen West’s reelection prospects grew dimmer Sunday, as a recount of early ballots showed him falling further behind his Democratic opponent.
Democrat Patrick Murphy, a 29-year-old construction company executive, gained 242 votes after the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections completed its re-tabulation, increasing his lead to more than 2,100 votes over West, a tea party hero. Murphy’s lead is just outside the 0.5 percent margin that would trigger an automatic district-wide recount under Florida law.

Within the last few hours, Rep. West posted a link on his Facebook page referencing a section of the United State Constitution allowing House members to refuse to seat a member of Congress:

Throughout the history of the United States Congress there have been times when members of either chamber have refused to seat new members. Article I, Section 5 of the United States Constitution states that, “Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each House may provide.” This means that members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate can refuse to recognize the election or appointment of a new representative or senator. They can bar the individual outright or refer the matter to a committee for inquiry. Powell v. McCormack (1969) clarified the issue of the scope of powers of the Congress to refuse to seat an elected member. The Federal Contested Elections Act of 1969 currently lays out the procedures by which each House determines contested elections.

West is also encouraging people to call Gov. Scott’s office on Monday, and dial *67 before calling the Governor’s office if they are from out of state. According to West’s Facebook page, Scott’s office sometimes does not accept calls from out-of-state.

It seems West does not believe the matter is resolved, and that he will continue to fight despite Patrick Murphy’s having claimed victory. On his web site tonight, West writes:

Since Election Day we have been working for a fair and accurate accounting of the election outcome in which voters can put their full trust. We will review the results of today’s recount and the other available data to determine how to proceed. I have been humbled by the support we have received and the hard work of so many to ensure the integrity of this process.

We look forward to the report which will be issued by the Secretary of State’s auditors this coming week which we hope will shed light on some of the outstanding issues.

We will continue to keep you informed as updates warrant.

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  1. Besides the problems that Allen West is experiencing, it seems to me that if the numbers are this much different in the counts (over 2100 votes), then apparently there is a problem within the Board of Elections itself, and that needs to be investigated as well. I was watching postings on Twitter and saw reports of the counting being shut down at midnight and not being able to open again until 8:00am, when the office has been open all night on other occasions. The implication of voter fraud in Florida is something that the entire country needs to be concerned about. Hopefully the members of the House of Representatives are paying attention and will find enough reason to not seat Mr. Murphy until such time as the situation is decided once and for all. I see a court case in front of the Florida Supreme Court on the horizon.

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