Wednesday, September 28, 2022

McCormick sued over counting of mail ballots in Pa Senate race

Harrisburg, Pa. ( Associated Press) — David McCormick’s campaign, which is contesting a neck-and-neck Republican primary for the U.S. Senate against celebrity heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, filed suit in a Pennsylvania court Monday to try to ensure the county Can you Follow a new federal appeals court ruling that could help him make the ground.

McCormick’s lawsuit, filed hours later, asked the state’s Commonwealth Court to require counties to immediately count mail-in ballots that do not have a required handwritten date on return envelopes. This is the first — but possibly not the last — lawsuit in a competition between Oz and McCormick, a former CEO of a hedge fund.

McCormick’s campaign said at least two counties – Blair and Allegheny – suggested they would not count ballots as part of their unofficial results that each county would have to report to the state on Tuesday.

Oz, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, led McCormick by 992 votes, or 0.07 percentage points, out of the 1,341,037 ballots reported in the state as of 6 p.m. Monday.

The race is close enough to introduce Pennsylvania’s automatic recounting law, which has a 0.5% margin of separation between candidates by law. The Associated Press will not announce a winner in the race until a possible recalculation is complete. This may take till June 8.

It is unclear how many mail-in ballots that do not have a handwritten date have been received by the counties. Although he lags behind by counting the votes, McCormick is outperforming Oz in mail-in ballots.

In an appearance Monday on a conservative Philadelphia radio talk show, McCormick insisted that “every Republican vote count” and said his campaign believes the federal court’s decision is binding on the counties.

“I believe the premise that we should have as Republicans is that all Republican votes count, and I think that’s what we have as a principle,” McCormick said. “And so that is the principle that we are holding here. We had put this principle in place before this court decision. This court decision further illuminated it.”

In a separate case ruling late Friday, the Third US Circuit Court of Appeals said the state election law’s requirement of a date next to a voter’s signature on the outside of the return envelope was “insignificant.” The lawsuit emerged from a county judicial election last year, and the three-judge panel said it found no reason to refuse to count ballots in that race.

Tom Wolf’s administration said it would issue guidance to counties on how to handle ballots affected by the ruling, although it has yet to do so.

The ruling went against the position that Republicans in Pennsylvania have repeatedly tried in the past to disqualify legal ballots technically cast by eligible voters in the courts, such as the lack of a handwritten date.

By law someone is required 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 the counties upon receipt.

Meanwhile, state law gives no reason why a voter must date the envelope and explicitly doesn’t require a county to throw it out if it doesn’t have a date.

In an email attached to the lawsuit as a demonstration, Blair County attorney, Nathan Karn, told McCormick’s attorneys that the county “unless expressly finalizes them.”

The federal appeals court’s decision affects just 10 Republican ballots in Blair County, Kern wrote.

But the decision doesn’t seem to be effective until the court issues an opinion justifying its action, Karn wrote, and he pointed out that the state had not issued guidance—which counties are not obligated to follow— And the decision of the court can be appealed.

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Follow Mark Levy on Twitter https://twitter.com/timelywriter.

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Follow the Associated Press for full coverage of the midterm at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter here https://twitter.com/ap_politics.

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