Once again, there is controversy surrounding the counting of ballots in Pennsylvania. This time two Republicans are questioning the process for counting votes. The issue was elevated to the Third Circuit Court and then to the Supreme Court. On Wednesday, SCOTUS Justice Samuel Alito ordered a pause in the counting.
On the line is the Republican primary for a seat in the Senate. Hedge Fund manager David McCormick is in a very tight race with Trump- and RNC-backed Mehmet Oz, a surgeon and television personality.
At this time, Oz enjoys a narrow lead of fewer than 1000 votes. The narrow margin prompted a recount, per Pennsylvania State law.
In the process of recounting ballots, the McCormick campaign filed suit to ensure election officials tally undated mail-in ballots.
State law requires all mail-in ballots to be signed, turned in on time and dated. Oz and the RNC want election officials to follow the law in this matter, a measure they argue is stipulated in the law and present to guard the integrity of the election process.
The Washington Post reports that Alito is considering the matter and in the interim issued an administrative stay for the counting of mail-in ballots.
Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Court ruled that election officials should count ballots received on time if signed but undated.
The Post report noted: “The state’s requirement is that mail-ballot voters ‘fill out, date and sign’ a form declaration on the outer envelope used to return ballots.” However, the Third Circuit Court determined that “not counting the votes of those who did not provide a date violated federal civil rights law because the requirement was immaterial to the voters’ qualifications.”
The report added that judges were inclined to allow the ballots because “there are no indications of fraud, the ballots were received by the state’s deadline, and election officials noted they would have counted ballots with the wrong date but not those with no dates at all.”
The Oz campaign claims that in pushing for incorrectly marked ballots to be counted, McCormick is “following the Democrats’ playbook” and eroding voters’ confidence in the election.
Oz is not waiting for a final count to claim victory. He has referred to himself as the “presumptive Republican nominee” and is acting as such. Oz recently said:
“It’s time to unite. I want to hear your ideas and make this country’s future as bright as it has ever been. With more freedom, less big government, and by empowering our people, America’s light will shine brighter than ever.”
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McCormick’s campaign claims that election officials are “disenfranchising” voters who did not date their ballots.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that both campaigns made their case before the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court on Tuesday.
The winner of the Republican primary will face Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in the November election. Fetterman is considered a favorite — he carried every county and defeated challenger U.S. Congressman Conor Lamb in the Democratic Senate primary.
The November election will determine who will succeed Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who is retiring after serving two terms in the Senate.