Republican Senate contender David McCormick is headed back to court in Pennsylvania to request a hand recount across a dozen counties as his campaign complained of irregularities and confusion over uncounted ballots.

The McCormick campaign was in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania Tuesday asking that counties be compelled to count mail-in ballots received on time but without the handwritten date on the exterior envelope as required by statute. Simultaneously, the McCormick campaign announced plans to petition the same state appellate court to force a hand recount in 12 counties, citing an abnormal number of Republican ballots that registered no vote in the Senate primary.

McCormick was trailing Dr. Mehmet Oz by just 0.07 percentage points with most precincts reporting when acting Pennsylvania Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman pulled the trigger on an automatic recount. However, she commenced the process before all outstanding mail-in, absentee, military, and other overseas ballots had been counted. The McCormick campaign said uncertainty over the final count was another factor in its decision to ask the state for a partial hand recount.


“We’re doing a recount, of a count that I don’t actually know the results of,” a senior McCormick campaign official told reporters during an afternoon conference call. This official is asking that the hand recount be conducted concurrently with the regular county-by-county recount to avoid any delays. Under Pennsylvania law, the recount must be completed by June 7 and submitted to the state by June 8 at noon.

“We don’t want to elongate the process, we don’t want to cause any delays,” the senior McCormick campaign official added. “We want the Republican primary voters to know that they have a winner, whether it’s by one vote or 1,000 votes, so we can all get behind the nominee and beat Fetterman in the fall.” Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee, easily won his primary. The Oz campaign could not be reached for comment.

When Chapman ordered a recount last Thursday, Oz led McCormick 31.21% to 31.14%, a difference of 902 votes, according to results compiled by the Pennsylvania Department of State. The McCormick and Oz campaigns are both expressing confidence that victory is at hand. However, the McCormick campaign is lately being more careful with its projections, while Oz last week declared himself Pennsylvania’s “presumptive” Republican Senate nominee.

This is the seventh time in Pennsylvania history an automatic recount has been triggered but only the fourth time one has been carried out. The state estimates the recount will cost taxpayers more than $1 million, although any hand recount granted to McCormick would be paid for by the former hedge fund executive’s campaign. McCormick is asking for a countywide hand recount in a dozen counties but might limit the effort to particular precincts.

The counties the McCormick campaign is targeting with its hand recount request in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania include Allegheny, York, Centre, Chester, Cumberland, Erie, Lancaster, Monroe, Schuylkill, Delaware, Bucks, and Westmoreland.

Typically, there is a percentage of ballots that do not register a vote for top-of-the-ticket offices such as governor, senator, or, in presidential elections, the White House. But the McCormick campaign explained that in the counties where they are seeking a hand recount, the number of Republican ballots that did not include a vote for Senate was unusually high — beyond statistical norms.


Meanwhile, on Monday, 241 uncounted Republican absentee ballots were uncovered in four counties. At press time, the secretary of state’s office had not answered a list of questions regarding this story submitted via email.