The Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Pennsylvania GOP oppose Republican David McCormick’s lawsuit that argues undated mail-in ballots should be counted in his Senate race, and the two groups are now planning to intervene in the suit, according to a report.
The report, shared on social media by the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, cited “GOP sources” and comes after RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel indicated her disapproval of McCormick’s ballot fight on Fox News on Sunday.
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled this year, and the RNC very much supports, that ballots should not be counted without a date,” McDaniel said. “I think that’s the law in Pennsylvania. I think that should be followed, and we certainly do not think that ballots without dates should be counted because how do you know when they came in?”
Politico reported on McCormick’s lawsuit, noting that knowing when a mail-in ballot with an undated envelope has arrived is a nonissue. Election officials told the outlet that “counties track when mail-in and absentee ballots are received, so they know if they have arrived on time, regardless of whether a date is written on the envelope.”
McCormick is fighting for every last valid ballot to be counted in Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate primary, which took place nearly a week ago but remains too close to call and will require a recount regardless of the result.
McCormick trails Dr. Mehmet Oz in the race by 987 votes out of more than 1.3 million ballots cast as of Monday night, and Politico noted more than 5,000 mail-in ballots may still be outstanding.
Neither McCormick nor Oz had raised concern about the ballot counting process until Friday, when a ruling from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals determined that mail-in ballots that come in undated envelopes must be counted. The ruling was in reference to a case out of Lehigh County about a prior election.
The case prompted McCormick to act by first sending a letter to counties requesting they count any undated ballots they had received, and then filing the lawsuit Monday arguing the counties must count them.
“These ballots were indisputably submitted on time—they were date-stamped upon receipt—and no fraud or irregularity has been alleged. The Boards’ only basis for disenfranchising these voters is a technical error that is immaterial under both state and federal law,” the lawsuit states.
McCormick would likely benefit from counting any rejected undated mail-in ballots as he is currently behind in the race with only a small pool of uncounted ballots left to make up ground. Additionally, McCormick has performed better with mail-in ballots than Oz.
Oz, who appears to realize he would be disadvantaged if the counties chose to count such ballots, argued in a statement Saturday that “it is becoming obvious” that McCormick “is likely going to come up short” and that his argument that officials count the Senate primary’s rejected undated ballots “is following the Democrats’ playbook.”
UPDATE [10:30 a.m.]: McDaniel indicated in a statement on social media Tuesday morning that the party intervention against McCormick in the lawsuit is the RNC being neutral in the matter:
Both Republican candidates in Pennsylvania would be fantastic Senators.
The RNC is committed to election integrity and election laws must be followed. We’re intervening in a Pennsylvania legal battle alongside the @PAGOP to ensure just that. (1/2)
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) May 24, 2022
Write to Ashley Oliver at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.
Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.