Pa. court orders contested ballots counted in Senate primary

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A state court Thursday night agreed in a ballot-counting lawsuit with the campaign of David McCormick, who fought in a head-to-head Republican primary for the US Senate against famed cardiac surgeon Dr. Mehmet starts ounce.

In the decision, Commonwealth Court Justice Renee Cohn Jubelirer directed counties to count the ballots in question, although her decision could be reversed depending on what the U.S. Supreme Court does in a separate case in the coming days.

Because of the Supreme Court’s involvement, Jubelirer directed counties to keep the undated ballots separate from other ballots and to count them separately.

The ballots in question are about 880 mail-in ballots that lack a handwritten date on the envelope.

Jubelirer’s decision comes as the race between McCormick, a former hedge fund CEO, and Oz is in the middle of a nationwide recount.

Roughly 900 votes separate McCormick and Oz from more than 1.3 million ballots cast in the May 17 primary.

Even if the ballots are tallied, many Republicans believe McCormick would not be able to close the gap on Oz in a recount.

The Oz campaign, the Republican National Committee, and the state’s Republican Party have all taken a stand against McCormick in court.

State law requires a voter to write a date next to their signature on the outside of their mail-in ballot return envelopes. A handwritten date on a ballot envelope is irrelevant to eligibility and timely voting.

McCormick is suing a state court to force counties to count ballots after the US Third Circuit Court ruled two weeks ago in a case brought by a local court last year that discarding an undated ballot violates a voter’s civil rights .

In an urgent appeal, the US Supreme Court temporarily blocked the ballot count.

The Supreme Court action – dubbed a stay of administration – is halting the matter until the court can review the case further. There is no timetable for the Supreme Court operation and McCormick’s clock is running until next Wednesday when the recount ends.


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