PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With the voting margin between Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick so close in the Republican Senate race, many people are expecting a recount in the coming weeks.
KDKA political editor Jon Delano takes a closer look at what that means.
Statewide candidates are entitled to a taxpayer-funded recount if the margin of victory is really close.
It’s happened six times, and in all cases the original winner still won despite the recount, but that may not stop the loser from insisting on a recount.
“There is an automatic recount trigger in the election code that would trigger a statewide recount if the margin of victory is half a percent or less,” the assistant secretary of state said. elections, Jonathan Marks.
Marks says that only applies to statewide races — and the losing contestant can waive the recount, saving taxpayers more than $1 million in recount expenses.
“If the candidate doesn’t decide to waive the recount, then we’ll have to move on,” Marks says.
After counties send their unofficial results to the state next Tuesday, May 24, the secretary of state is giving the losing candidate the option to waive the recount. If he does not give up, the secretary will order a recount next Thursday, May 26.
“The counties then have to use another form to recount all the ballots,” says Washington County Chief Electoral Officer Melanie Ostrander.
In each of the counties, paper ballots must be rescanned using different scanners, Ostrander says.
“For example, precinct election day ballots were scanned on a precinct scanner. We were scanning them on our central count scanner,” Ostrander says.
This all takes time, staff, and money, and county officials have about ten business days to report recounted results to the state.
“If there is a statewide recount, we may not have the results of the recount until June 7,” Marks says.
Since the recounts did not change the statewide results, former Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said candidates should think carefully about a recount.
His personal threshold for insisting on a recount? A thousand voices.
“Once it starts getting less than a thousand votes, it becomes more and more possible that an outcome could change,” Boockvar says.
Depending on what the losing contender decides to do after next Tuesday’s unofficial results, we may not know the winner between Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick until June.