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Election Coverage

Midstate residents arrive at Mt. Victory United Methodist Church in Gardners Tuesday to vote.

With one vote separating two candidates and 29 votes separating another two in local state House races, a recount may be a possibility in Tuesday’s primary.

But that recount won’t be automatic.

According to Wanda Murren, director of the press office at the Pennsylvania Department of State, automatic recount rules only apply for statewide offices in which all residents in the state can vote for the office.

When it comes to House of Representative districts, Murren said there are two methods of seeking a recount, depending on when someone requests it.

Prior to a county officially completing its computation of votes, voters may petition their respective county board of elections for a recount. The petition must be filed by three voters in a single precinct.

Murren said a final computation of all returns would not take place before the eighth day after the election, due to various deadlines, including those for military and oversees absentee ballots that will be accepted for another week.

If the computation is complete and the county signs off on the results, Murren said that voters seeking a recount will have to petition the county Court of Common Pleas. There again must be three voters in the same precinct, but they will need to verify that fraud or error was committed in the vote tabulation and offer evidence supporting that allegation.

Murren said the voters must also file qualified petitions in every single precinct in which ballots were cast for the office in question, and those petitions must be filed within five days after the completion of the county computation.

All recounts would be done at the county level.

These rules may be important for the candidates seeking the Republican nomination in the 193rd and 199th House races.

In Tuesday’s primary, Barry Cockley had 1,783 votes overall in the 193rd district, covering parts of Cumberland County and Adams County. That is only one more vote than fellow candidate Torren Ecker.

Both Cumberland County and Adams County tabulated the absentee ballots they received, and those numbers are figured into the unofficial results reported by the Department of State and each of the counties.

In the 199th Legislative District race, it was the absentee ballots in Cumberland County that proved to be the difference in the race.

With just election night votes, Jason Kelso had led Barbara Gleim with 29 votes. After absentee ballots were added to the figures, Gleim had a 29-vote win over Kelso. There were 19 write-in votes in the race.

“As we all await confirmation of the outcome of the election for the 199th District, I’d like to congratulate Jason Kelso and his team for an extremely professional and hard-fought race,” Gleim said Wednesday. “Both teams worked very hard and with integrity. We were able to keep the race respectful to the voters and focused on the issues, and for that I am extremely proud.

“I had the support of an amazing group of volunteers and want to thank all of my many supporters. I am humbled by their confidence and their generosity.”

Kelso Tuesday night considered the possibility of a recount given how close the race was.

Ecker Wednesday said he would be interested in a recount considering there is only a one-vote difference in the race.

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Email Naomi Creason at or follow her on Twitter @SentinelCreason


Managing Editor

Managing Editor at The Sentinel.