Another dispute in Palm Beach Count election race - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Another dispute in Palm Beach Count election race

By Chuck Weber email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (AP) - A candidate in the disputed Palm Beach County judicial race says he will challenge the results of a third recount that cost him his seat.

Update, FRI 11 AM: Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Richard Wennet says he will file court papers Monday, arguing that state law only allows for one recount. Attorney William Abramson was declared the winner Tuesday of the Aug. 26 primary after the third recount showed he won by 61 votes.

Wennet says he will ask Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Francis to uphold the results of the first recount, which he won. As an alternative, Wennet will ask that Francis throw out all the results and have the race decided in a special election Nov. 4.

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Previously: Palm Beach County's canvassing board declares a winner in that ever-so-close race for judge.

The decision comes after a third recount.
Vote total for Abramson: 45,000. Canvassing Board Chair Judge Peter Evans anncounced the totals after the latest, a third recount.

Challenger William Abramson actually picks up three more votes in his race against incumbent Judge Richard Wennet.

The totals: Wennet 45,470, Abramson 45,531 on top by 61 votes.

After county staffers say they can account for all but four ballots. Canvassing board members vote unanimously to certify the latest results declaring Abramson the winner.

"Oh, of course, he's going to be ecstatic." David Shiner said, the lawyer who represents Abramson.
Well, let's just say I'm disappointed with the result," Wennet said.

Although, a judge in Tallahassee approved this third partial recount of the votes in the race Wennet's lawyer points out state law only authorizes one recount.  And, he says, he witnessed other problems.

"But, if you know the machines are kicking out things they should not be kicking out, how do you know that they're counting every vote they should be counting?" Wennet said.

Attorney Gerald Richman says the only fair remedy is another vote.

"The only time I've ever heard of a person asking for a do-over is when, unfortunately, they're on the losing end," he said.

It is possible that Wennet will contest the results.

"I'm going to look at the law. I'm going to look at the facts," Wennet said. "And, then, I'll make a determination one way or another."
The results certified by the canvassing board Tuesday will now go to the state election commission. They will report to the judge in Tallahassee. By that time, we should know if Judge Wennet plans a challenge.

Meanwhile, there's a new challenge for the soon-to-be judge. A second complaint against Abramson filed by the Florida Bar Association.

The complaints pending with the State Supreme Court. The Florida Bar's most recent complaint against William Abramson says he failed to timely reveal potential juror misconduct and made disparaging remarks about a judge in a letter he sent her.

In that letter he wrote to Judge Sandra Bosso-Pardo. Abramson writes, "I feel as though you do not yet possess the competence necessary to preside over criminal jury trials."

He adds, "Nothing is more depressing for a trial attorney than to try a case before a judge that does not understand the basic rules of criminal law."

There's no time table for the Supreme Court deciding on either of the two pending complaints.

The Supreme Court doesn't have to do anything. But if it decides to punish Abramson by suspending his law license, and the suspension were in place when Abramson is scheduled take the bench, that could be a problem.

Abramson did not return calls.

In the past, he has said the complaints are politically motivated.

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