The court victory likely won’t be enough to propel David McCormick past Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania’s Republican primary race for US Senate.
For now, at least, the news is good for GOP US Senate hopeful David McCormick.
With the primary race between McCormick, a former hedge fund CEO, and celebrity heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz in the midst of a statewide recount, a state court agreed Thursday night in a ballot-counting lawsuit filed by McCormick’s campaign.
Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer ordered counties to count roughly 880 mail-in ballots that lack a handwritten date on the envelope, although her decision could be reversed, depending on what the US Supreme Court does in the coming days on a separate case.
Because of the high court’s involvement, Jubelirer ordered counties to keep the undated ballots separate from other ballots and to count them separately.
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 plays no role in determining whether a voter is eligible or whether a ballot is cast on time.
McCormick sued in state court to force counties to count the ballots, after the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled two weeks ago in a case from a local judicial last year that throwing out an undated ballot violates a voter’s civil rights.
In an emergency appeal, the US Supreme Court temporarily blocked the counting of the ballots.
The Supreme Court’s action—called an administrative stay freezes the matter until the court can give the case further consideration. There’s no timeline on the high court’s undertaking, and the clock for McCormick is ticking down to next Wednesday at noon, when the recount ends.
Even if the ballots are counted, many Republicans believe McCormick would be unable to make up the gap with Oz in a recount.
Oz holds a razor-thin lead over McCormick. The initial tally had Oz ahead by 922 votes out of more than 1.3 million cast, which triggered the recount.
The recount and court involvement hasn’t stopped the Donald Trump-endorsed Oz from declaring himself the GOP’s presumptive nominee for Pat Toomey’s US Senate seat.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.