U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick sued in Pennsylvania court on Monday to make county election boards count undated mail-in ballots.
As McCormick, a former Bush administration official, trails Republican primary rival Dr. Mehmet Oz by less than 1,000 votes, his campaign argued in a lawsuit that election officials must tally mail-in and absentee ballots that do not have a date on their envelopes.
“These ballots were indisputably submitted on time — they were date-stamped upon receipt — and no fraud or irregularity has been alleged,” McCormick’s lawsuit argued. “The Boards’ only basis for disenfranchising these voters is a technical error that is immaterial under both state and federal law.”
The lawsuit — which follows a Friday federal court decision declaring that undated ballots in a 2021 Pennsylvania county judgeship election must be counted — therefore demands that the election boards count ballots “that were returned on time but that lack a handwritten date on the exterior mailing envelope.”
McCormick’s suit comes days after the Oz campaign alleged that his rival is “following the Democrats’ playbook” and eroding voters’ confidence in election integrity.
“David McCormick has been a formidable opponent, but it is becoming obvious that he is likely going to come up short to Dr. Mehmet Oz,” campaign manager Casey Contres said on Saturday. “Unfortunately, the McCormick legal team is following the Democrats’ playbook, a tactic that could have long-term harmful consequences for elections in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
“It is a clear contrast between Dr. Mehmet Oz’s efforts to secure America’s democratic process and John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee, who doesn’t even want to require Pennsylvanians to show ID to vote,” Contres argued. “As a party, and as a people, Dr. Mehmet Oz believes we must restore faith in our government institutions.”
Oz was the most polarizing Republican candidate in the Senate primary, according to an Emerson College poll taken ahead of the election. Although he is leading slightly in the race, 48% of Republicans reported a “somewhat or strongly unfavorable opinion” of Oz, while 32% had an unfavorable view of McCormick.
Oz performed particularly well in the eastern part of the commonwealth, while McCormick won many counties in the western and central portions. The results come despite polls in the days before the primary election that indicated a two-way contest between Oz and conservative commentator Kathy Barnette, who surged late in the race.
Last week, former President Donald Trump prompted Oz — his endorsed candidate — to claim the win. “Dr. Oz should declare victory. It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they ‘just happened to find,’” Trump claimed on Truth Social, his social media company.
Oz or McCormick will face Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the winner of the Democratic Senate primary, in November. The victor will then succeed Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican who is retiring after two terms in the Senate. Democrats therefore have a chance to flip the seat in the general election.
Fetterman defeated U.S. Congressman Conor Lamb despite suffering a stroke in the week before the election and successfully undergoing a procedure to receive a pacemaker on election day. Fetterman — who was the longtime mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, before becoming lieutenant governor in 2019 — carried every county and more than doubled Lamb’s share of the Democratic electorate.