Updated: Mandatory Recount Ordered in Democratic Commonwealth Court Primary Election

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

It’s not over yet. It appears Pittsburgh attorney Barbara Ernsberger has pulled within the margin of Bucks County attorney and endorsed Democratic candidate Kathryn Boockvar in the race for the Commonwealth Court nomination.

Initially it had appeared that Boockvar would win without the recount, but it appears outstanding ballots favored Ernsberger.

Boockvar (left) and Ernsberger

Ernsberger did not waive her right to a recount.

With only 2,116 votes – 0.341 percent – separating the two candidates, the state will begin its recount in the coming days.

5:45pm Update: “We remain confident that Kathy will not only be the nominee — no statewide race has been overturned through a recount since we moved to electronic voting machines — but that she will win this fall.  This is just another step in that process,” said Boockvar spokesman Daniel Fee.

11:30pm Update: Boockvar posted this call for volunteers on her facebook page:

“Thank you for all your support for my Commonwealth Ct race! It unfortunately appears there will be a recount. Very confident the result will be the same and my win will be confirmed; since HAVA, no winning statewide candidate has ever lost as result of recount. But we really need your help– can you help monitor the recount? Please email info@boockvar.com for more information or to volunteer. Thanks again!”

10:30am Update: Ernsberger says she is seeing the recount through in order to ensure that every Pennsylvania voter is heard.

“The mandatory recount for a margin of less than one-half of one percent in a primary election was enacted by the state legislature to ensure that the vote counts  in a statewide primary are accurate and that a fair election result is reported to the citizens of Pennsylvania,” Ernsberger said. “I decided to follow the process created by the legislature and ensure an open and  unquestionable result for the race for Commonwealth Court in the 2011 primary.”

Here’s the release from the Governor’s office:

Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele today ordered, as required by state law, a mandatory recount in the Democratic primary election contest for Judge of the Commonwealth Court.

Unofficial results from across the state indicate the margin between the two candidates is less than one-half of one percent, the threshold at which the mandatory recount is triggered.

As of today, the unofficial returns filed by all 67 counties with the Department of State, show the following results:

  • Katherine Boockvar – 311,624 (50.170%)
  • Barbara Ernsberger – 309,508 (49.830%)
  • Total Number of Votes Cast: 621,132
  • Difference: 2,116 (.341%)

The trailing candidate, Barbara Ernsberger, had until 4 p.m. today to waive her right to a recount. Since she did not waive this right, a recount will take place.

“There is nothing more important to our system of government than a transparent election process in which our citizens have confidence,” Aichele said. “Mandatory recounts in elections this close help maintain that confidence.”

The recount must begin in all counties no later than June 1 and be completed by June 7. County boards of elections must submit the results of their recounts to the Secretary of the Commonwealth by noon on June 8.  Once these final results are received, Aichele will announce the final outcome of the election.

The last statewide recount, in 2009, cost approximately $542,000. This cost will be paid by the commonwealth, as required by state law for mandatory recounts.

May 27th, 2011 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg | No Comments

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