LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – More than 36 hours after the polls closed Lancaster County is continuing to count votes in Pennsylvania’s primary election.

The attention of the vote count is on the Republican Senate race with Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick within a couple thousand votes since Tuesday night.

As of 1 p.m. on Thursday Oz led the race with 31.2% to McCormick’s 31.1% with the balance of power in Washington potentially hanging on this race.

Lancaster County’s count is continuing after an issue with mail-in ballots not properly scanning due to an identification code issue reportedly caused by their ballot vendor, NPC.

Election workers in Lancaster County are now counting about 15,000 ballots by hand through a process they developed last year when they also experienced issues.

Lancaster County officials say about 5,000 ballots will be uploaded to the Department of State system on Thursday night.

Prior to the upload of ballots on Thursday night McCormick led Oz among mail-in votes by about 80 in Lancaster County. In election day votes, McCormick leads Oz by less than 300 votes in Lancaster County. Despite expecting a third place finish state-wide Kathy Barnette has been leading in Lancaster County.

More ballots are expected to be uploaded across the commonwealth, including a McCormick stronghold in western Pennsylvania with Allegheny County.

Counties can still receive overseas and military ballots until next Tuesday at 5 p.m. The official count for a certified winner does not begin across the state until Friday, May 20, at 9 a.m.

If the Senate race is within 0.5% there will be an automatic recount of the race with more than 1.2 million votes cast.

A recount would have to begin no later than June 1 and have to be finished by June 7, with an announcement coming no later than June 8 from the commonwealth’s Secretary of State.

Here is a full timeline of events in the race:

  • May 17 – Primary Election Night, unofficial vote count begins
  • May 20 – Official vote count begins
  • May 24 – Unofficial vote count due by counties
  • May 26 – Recount must be ordered by the Department of State by this date
  • June 1 – Recount must start by June 1
  • June 7 – Recount must be complete
  • June 8 – Department of State announces a winner of the party nomination

According to the Department of State website, there were nearly 137,500 mail-in ballots recorded by 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. McCormick has received about 32% (more than 44,200) of the mail-in ballots already received and accounted for. Oz has received more than 31,000 mail-in ballots.