Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortes Orders Recount in Close Superior Court Election

Nov 13, 2009, 17:48 ET from Pennsylvania Department of State

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortes today ordered a recount of the Nov. 3 election returns for Judge of the Superior Court, the first statewide recount triggered by law in Pennsylvania history.

Act 97 of 2004 provides that any statewide race or ballot question where the margin of victory was less than one-half of 1 percent of the total number of votes cast for that office or ballot question would trigger a recount in all 67 counties. The act also allows affected candidates to submit a written request to opt out of a recount.

In the Nov. 3 election for Judge of the Superior Court there were three candidates whose unofficial vote returns fell within the margin: Robert J. Colville, Kevin Francis McCarthy and Temp Smith.

"Candidates Colville and McCarthy were willing to voluntarily opt out, citing that a recount would unlikely change the ultimate results and recognizing the difficult economic climate and cost to the taxpayers," Secretary Cortes stated, noting that the recount may cost the commonwealth as much as $1.3 million.

Yesterday Secretary Cortes granted the request of candidate Temp Smith for an extension of time to consider opting out of the recount. The deadline was extended to 4:30 p.m. today.

As of noon today, only 267 ballots are outstanding. The unofficial returns provided by the counties and shared with the candidates are as follows:

  • Anne E. Lazarus -- 725,798
  • Robert J. Colville -- 723,540 (trails Lazarus by 2,258)
  • Temp Smith -- 722,264 (trails Lazarus by 3,534)
  • Kevin Francis McCarthy -- 713,116 (trails Lazarus by 12,682)

"Despite these numbers, I did not receive notification from candidate Temp Smith asking to opt out of the recount, as is his right under the law," Secretary Cortes stated. "Therefore, I order the counties to begin the recount process on Nov. 18."

According to the Secretary's order, counties must complete the recount by noon on Wed., Nov. 25, and must submit the results no later than noon on Mon., Nov. 30, 2009.

Unofficial elections returns are available through by clicking on the elections returns graphic on the right-hand side of the homepage.

For more information on elections and voter registration, call the Department of State's toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit

Media Contact: Leslie Amoros or Charlie Young, 717-783-1621

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of State