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Senate GOP recount could cost taxpayers over $1M and delay final result until June

Senate GOP recount could cost taxpayers over $1M and delay final result until June
Senate GOP recount could cost taxpayers over $1M and delay final result until June 02:44

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - With the vote margin between Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick so close in the Republican Senate race, a lot of folks expect 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 every case, the initial 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 one-half of one percent or less," says Deputy Secretary of State for Elections Jonathan Marks.

Marks says this only applies to statewide races – and the losing candidate can waive the recount, saving taxpayers over $1 million in recount expenses.

"If the candidate does not decide to waive the recount, then we will have to push forward," says Marks.

After the counties send their unofficial results to the state next Tuesday, May 24, the secretary of state gives the losing candidate the chance to waive the recount.  If he does not waive, the secretary will order a recount next Thursday, May 26.

"The counties then have to use an alternate form to recount all of the ballots," says Melanie Ostrander, the Washington County director of elections.

In each of the counties, the paper ballots have to be re-scanned using different scanners, says Ostrander.

"For example, the election day ballots from the precincts were scanned on a precinct scanner. We would scan those on our central count scanner," explains Ostrander.

All this takes time, people and money, and county officials have about ten business days to report the recounted results to the state.

"If there is a statewide recount, we may not have the results of the recount until June 7," says Marks.

Since recounts have not changed statewide results, former Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar says candidates need to think carefully about a recount.

Her personal threshold for insisting on a recount? A thousand votes.

"Once it starts getting fewer than a thousand votes, it gets more and more possible that a result could change," says Boockvar.

Depending on what the losing candidate decides to do after next Tuesday's unofficial results, we may not know the winner between Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick until June.  

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