The primary election in Pennsylvania for an open U.S. Senate seat is all but certain to go to a mandatory recount, with candidates Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick separated by just 0.1% following an initial count of roughly 98% of all ballots cast.
So what happens now? Here's a look at how a recount is performed and what the steps are.
Why Will There Be a Recount in the Pennsylvania Senate Race Between Oz and McCormick?
State law mandates a recount in elections where the top two candidates are separated by 0.5% or less of the votes tallied. That is almost a certainty in the race involving Oz and McCormick, unless one of them gets an unexpectedly lopsided amount of the votes yet to be counted.
Less than 2% of the ballots cast by Pennsylvania voters remains uncounted, and those include some mail-in ballots received at the last minute in the state's 67 counties as well as provisional ballots cast by military members overseas.
It's unlikely that Oz or McCormick would receive enough of those outstanding ballots to pass the 0.5% threshold.
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When Will All the Votes Be Counted?
Counties in southeastern Pennsylvania told NBC10 on Thursday that they expect to have all of the mail-in ballots counted by Friday, May 20.
Those counties also said that the deadline for receiving provisional ballots cast by military members serving overseas is Tuesday, May 24. Once that deadline arrives, those ballots will be tallied. If the results still have Oz and McCormick within 0.5%, the Pennsylvania secretary of state must order the recount by Thursday, May 26.
State law requires the secretary of state to order a recount no later than the second Thursday after an election.
How Does a Recount Work in PA?
The secretary of state gives a 24-hour notice to the two candidates. That will let the candidates and the counties know when the recount will be held. The latest the recount can be held is the third Wednesday after Election Day. That would be June 1.
Once then recount is initiated, the counties have six days to complete the recount, which means the latest it would be completed this year is June 7.
They must submit their recount results by noon the next day, which is June 8. The secretary of state then publishes the results, and a winner is declared.
Can a Candidate Decline a Recount?
Yes, but both campaigns for Oz and McCormick have said they expect to win, so it appears unlikely either would accept defeat before a recount.