Dems miscount votes in Pa. Senate endorsement meeting

The state party is conducting an audit of the endorsement vote, and the official said it will release the properly tabulated results shortly.

It was announced at the state party’s meeting Saturday that Lt. Gov. John Fetterman came in second place, and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta finished third, while Val Arkoosh, a Montgomery County commissioner, did not receive the 15 percent of votes necessary to make it onto the second ballot.

The state party official said that with all the votes properly tabulated, Lamb still did not receive the endorsement and the candidates finished in the same order. Arkoosh also did not receive the votes needed to advance beyond the first ballot, the person said.

“A minor glitch in our system meant that some votes were recorded, but did not make it into the final tally at the meeting. We are conducting a full audit of the system,” Brendan Welch, communications director for the state party, said in a statement to POLITICO. “What we can say for certain is that this error did not impact any of the endorsement decisions, nor did it change any of the candidates’ placements in the final vote tally for any round of balloting, and we do have a record of every credentialed member’s vote. We will report full results as soon as the audit is complete.”

The state party official said they believed “more than five” votes had not been tabulated. Though they did not provide a specific number, they said it would not be enough for Lamb to win the endorsement.

 “The percentages are pretty identical,” the person said. “It may be Conor Lamb is at 62 percent … but he can’t get to 67 percent, which is the threshold.”

A source on Lamb’s campaign said it noticed this weekend that one of his supporters’ votes had not been tabulated and contacted the state party about the irregularity. The person added that the campaign is not questioning the results.

Lamb campaign manager Abby Nassif-Murphy said that the “party has assured us that they have a record of every vote cast and that every vote was counted.”

State committee members were permitted to vote in person or virtually at Saturday’s meeting, the first hybrid meeting held by the party for an endorsement.

“We were able to do a hybrid meeting in the midst of the pandemic,” the state party official said. “And given that it was a high percentage of accuracy, I think we did pretty good. I think our tech people will get better as we go forward.”

Welch added that “this was the PA Democratic Party’s first time conducting a hybrid endorsement vote — credentialed members were all emailed a link to a Google form that would record their vote, and votes were tabulated in real-time. This was done to accommodate our State Committee members who could not travel to Harrisburg for the in-person vote due to COVID-19 safety concerns.”