Trump attacks Pennsylvania's vote counting as Dr. Oz's race remains too close to call

·4 min read
Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally Greensburg, Pennsylvania, on May 6.Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Trump sought to sow questions about the outcome of Pennsylvania's GOP Senate primary.

  • Dr. Oz, the Trump-endorsed candidate, is currently locked in a too-close-to-call race.

  • Trump's statements mirror the lies about the 2020 election that he has repeated for more than a year.

Former President Donald Trump sought to sow doubt on Wednesday on the results in Pennsylvania's closely watched Republican Senate primary as Trump-backed candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz, remains in a too close to call contest.

"Here we go again! In Pennsylvania they are unable to count the Mail-In Ballots. It is a BIG MESS," Trump wrote on TRUTH Social, his preferred social media platform.

Like Trump's lies about the 2020 election, there are some inaccuracies in his current statement. Officials are still counting Election Day votes in some counties, MSNBC's Steve Kornacki reports. It also is the case that Oz is currently favoring better in mail-in voting from Lancaster County, which per Kornacki, has the largest stack of uncounted GOP mail-in ballots.

According to Decision Desk HQ, Oz has a .2-percentage point lead, 2,567 votes, over former hedge fund manager David McCormick with an estimated 94% of the expected vote in. If that margin holds, the race would be headed for an automatic recount.

In a span of a few hours, Trump went from saying Oz might win the race to calling on his hand-picked candidate to just "declare victory."

"Dr. Oz should declare victory," Trump wrote. "It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they 'just happened to find.'"

No major media organization has called the race. Even if that does eventually occur, no election is truly over until states and counties officially canvass their results. Media "calls" are simply projections based on historical and current voting patterns that have no legal significance whatsoever.

Trump also went after The Club for Growth, a powerful, conservative interest group, with which he is increasingly feuding. The club spent millions boosting conservative radio host Kathy Barnette, whose campaign appeared to be peaking right at the end. Instead, Barnette is currently in third place and nowhere near Oz and McCormick's vote totals.

"The Club For Growth Candidate, who lost, took many votes away from Oz," Trump wrote on TRUTH Social. 'Also, early Mail-In Ballots were sent without my having endorsed yet. Despite all of this, Oz won!"

Before Trump, Republican campaigns ran early voting and vote by mail programs just like their Democratic opponents. But Trump's jeremiad against an entire method of voting both before, during, and after the 2020 election has led even more Republicans to prefer same-day Election Day voting. Many of Trump's attacks on mail-in voting are baseless. It is worth pointing out that while president, Trump himself voted by mail so that he could cast a ballot in South Florida.

Trump continued his post on Wednesday morning by repeating his call for the nation to go to a sole paper ballot, same-day voting policy.

"Our Country should go to paper ballots, with same day voting. Just done in France, zero problems," he wrote. "Get Smart America!!!"

Contrary to Trump's claims, however, the vast majority of voters in the United States now vote on paper ballots. In Pennsylvania, all voters now vote on hand-marked paper ballots or ballot-marking devices that produce a paper ballot compared to 83% who voted on electronic voting machines without paper trail in 2016, according to Verified Voting.

In late 2019, the Pennsylvania legislature also enacted Act 77, which established no-excuse absentee balloting and eliminated straight-ticket voting.

The legislation passed almost entirely along party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats opposed to the measure — but the tide turned in 2020 when Trump aggressively denounced and discouraged mail voting.

The state legislature did not, however, make it easier for election officials to process and count those absentee ballots.

Election officials in Pennsylvania are not allowed to begin signature matching or verifying ballot envelopes until 7 a.m. on Election Day, in contrast to states like Ohio, Georgia, and Florida, where officials are able to speed up the counting process by processing ballots days to weeks ahead of time.

This means that counties in Pennsylvania count and report those absentee ballots on different timelines, VoteBeat noted.

In 2020, Trump repeatedly and falsely claimed fraud or impropriety when Biden took the lead in the Keystone State as more absentee ballots were counted. But absentee ballots could now push his endorsed candidate Oz over the edge.

A spokesperson for Oz did not immediately respond to a request for comment. McCormick's campaign pointed Insider to his election night speech, suggesting that mail-in votes would put him over the top. A representative for Pennsylvania's Secretary of State could also not be immediately reached.

Read the original article on Business Insider