Hand recount sought in Pa. Senate race

Wire reports

PHILADELPHIA — Dave McCormick’s campaign plans to ask the Commonwealth Court for a hand recount of Republican Senate primary votes in specific precincts in 12 Pennsylvania counties, including York, they told reporters Tuesday, as the campaign raised questions about the accuracy of the vote count.

The campaign pointed to discrepancies between vote tallies listed on county websites and those reported by the Department of State and said there are still questions about how many outstanding ballots remain to be counted, even as a statewide recount has begun.

“I can’t tell you today with full confidence — I can’t tell my client how many votes we have,” a McCormick campaign official told reporters, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We’re doing a recount of the count that I actually don’t know the results of.”

No evidence of fraud: There’s no evidence of fraud in the count, and the campaign didn’t allege any. Discrepancies in the public tallies may result from several reasons, including counties updating their websites at different times than they update the state.

The call for a hand recount comes as an initial count showed Mehmet Oz with just under 1,000 more votes than McCormick out of more than 1.3 million cast. The narrow margin has triggered an automatic recount, under state law, to verify the winner.

“We’re going to understand with a hand recount where any abnormalities exist and actually have a receipt that we can trust and verify,” the McCormick aide said.

McCormick’s camp said it would request a hand recount in precincts where it believes there are abnormalities, such as large discrepancies between the number of votes cast in the GOP gubernatorial and Senate primaries. It would run concurrently with the statewide recount, the campaign said.

The campaign is initially requesting a hand recount in precincts in Allegheny, York, Centre, Chester, Cumberland, Erie, Lancaster, Monroe, Schuylkill, Delaware, Bucks and Westmoreland counties.

“We understand that this process has already gone on too long — we’re all ready for it to be over with,” the official said. “It’s just the transparency — there’s an enormous lack of it.”

Undated ballots: Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily blocked the counting of some mail-in ballots. An order from Justice Samuel Alito paused a lower-court ruling in a lawsuit over a disputed 2021 local court election that would have allowed the counting of mail-in ballots that lacked a handwritten date.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia had ruled that the state

election law’s requirement of a date next to the voter’s signature on the outside of return envelopes was “immaterial.”

Based on that ruling, the state had advised counties to count those ballots in the race between McCormick and Oz. The Oz campaign filed the request for a stay over the weekend.

As McCormick scrounges for ballots to make up the gap with Oz, Alito’s order also could freeze a separate fed­eral lawsuit in Pennsylvania in which McCormick is fighting to force counties to count the ballots.

The high court’s action, called an administrative stay, freezes the matter until the court can give it further consideration.

The state law requires voters to write a date on the envelope in which they mail in their ballots. However, the envelope is postmarked by the post office and timestamped by counties when they receive it.