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County Executive Race is Still Tight: Blair Closes the Gap After First Round of Absentee Ballots Have Been Counted

June 29, 2018

The race for Montgomery County Executive is still very close after the first round of absentee ballots were counted by the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

   Marc Elrich remains the leader, but the lead is shrinking. After election night on Tuesday, the Democratic Primary Election resulted in a very tight race with just 452 votes separating Marc Elrich and David Blair.

   On Thursday, the Board of Elections counted 3,140 of the 14,902 absentee ballots, and Elrich still leads by just 269 votes. However, David Blair was the largest vote-getter in that first batch of absentee ballots with 980 or 31.2 percent. Elrich received 757 votes or 24.1 percent in the first canvass of absentee ballots. Blair closed the lead by 183 votes.

   The race continues to get closer, and the final results of the election may not be known for 10 days, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

   Either Blair or Elrich will run against Republican candidate, Boyds resident, Robin Ficker in the November General Election.

   A statement from the Board of Elections on Wednesday read, “There were 14,902 absentee and 3,616 provisional ballots issued in the Gubernatorial Primary Election. The absentee and provisional ballots are counted in a public process by bipartisan teams of voters during the weeks following the election. Results for each of these ballot-counting sessions referred to as the ‘canvasses,’ are then added to the Election Day totals before the official results of the election are certified.”

   It seems that this race may come down to the provisional ballots, which are ballots issued at the polls to people who have issues with their voter registration. According to Montgomery Board of Elections spokesperson Marjorie Roher, “Provisional ballots are issued to voters whose name does not appear in the poll book or their name appears at a different address from where they are currently living. In that case, they are issued a provisional ballot, and that ballot is held back. It is not scanned in on election night, to be researched by staff to verify the person’s eligibility to vote. Once that is done, the provisional ballots which are deemed eligible to vote are counted during the provisional ballot canvass.”

   Provisional ballots are canvassed beginning the following Thursday, July 5, at 10:00 am, and remaining absentee ballots returned by the statutory deadline will begin being canvassed on Friday, July 6, at 10:00 am. Statewide certification will follow upon completion of all tabulation, and those results may be found on the Maryland State Board of Elections’ website.

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