Costly recount possible in Pennsylvania judicial race

    The Democratic race for Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court judge could be headed for a recount. The decision on whether to tally the votes again will be made next week, when counties submit official returns to the Department of State.

    A total of 603,801 Democratic voters supported either Kathryn Boockvar or Barbara Ernsberger Tuesday. Speaking Wednesday afternoon, Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele explained just how slim Boockvar’s unofficial 50.3 to 49.8 percent lead is.

    “Right now, as of about an hour ago, the difference between the two candidates was 2,794 votes, which is within the half of the 1 percent,” she said.

    If the difference between the two candidates stays less than a half a percentage point once counties certify the results next week, Aichele will announce an automatic recount, unless the trailing candidate waives her right for another tally.

    The effort would be expensive, with an estimated cost of more than $500,000.

    “I have been through a recount in Chester County, as the county commissioner,” explained Aichele. “And we went over, in many cases, provisional ballots ballot by ballot. So it’s labor-intensive.” It’s estimated each ballot box would cost about $50 to count. With more than 9,000 precincts throughout Pennsylvania, the cost would add up quickly.

    Last year’s Democratic lieutenant governor primary and the 2009 Superior Court election both fell within the half-percent margin; both times, challengers conceded and waived their right to a recount.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal