By Daniel Stevens
Television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz and former Hedge Fund CEO David McCormick are neck-and-neck in a primary election that will decide the Republican nominee in Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race this November.
The Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary race between leading candidates Oz and McCormick has gone into an automatic recount due to the race's closeness.
Oz is leading McCormick by less than 1,000 votes, a margin of 0.07 percent. The margin between the two is less than one-half of one percent of the margin that forces a mandatory recount under state law.
The mail-in vote could decide who will run against Democrat candidate John Fetterman, who won the Democratic primary election on May 17. Incumbent GOP Senator Pat Toomey is not seeking re-election.
According to Pennsylvania state law, absentee ballots must be hand-signed and dated as a declaration by the voter when they vote, per Act 77.
Act 77 is an election law created in 2019 to prevent voter fraud and ensure secure elections.
Over 800 mail-in ballots were cast without a handwritten date, potentially disenfranchising hundreds of voters' voices.
A ballot without a handwritten signature and date is legally discarded and not counted during the electoral process. Many argue whether or not ballots should be discredited if there is a signature but no date.
The requirement for a dated absentee ballot is being contested by McCormick who is filing a lawsuit to ensure that they are counted. The lawsuit wants all of Pennsylvania to count ballots received on time whether or not a date is written.
The issue of a mail-in ballot without a date stems from not knowing when the ballot was cast. The un-dated ballot could have been filled out after the deadline, making it null and void.
The number of ballots cast without a date could swing the vote for Dr. Oz or McCormick.
The Monroe County Board of Elections will reconvene on Wednesday, June 1, to conduct a recount of votes cast in the GOP Senate primary election.