Blair Files for Recount of Democratic Primary County Executive Ballots
It ain’t over. We all knew it wasn’t, maybe some hoped it was, but we all knew it wasn’t.
The 2018 Democratic Primary race for Montgomery County Executive came down to just 80 votes, with Councilmember Marc Elrich being declared the winner. On Thursday afternoon, the political newcomer David Blair officially filed for a recount of the primary election votes.
According to a statement from the Blair Campaign, Blair has the campaign has filed a formal petition with the Board of Elections for a recount of the June 2018 Primary Election results.
Over the last several weeks, the Blair campaign has closely reviewed the results of the 2018 Primary Election, said the statement.
The Montgomery County Board of Elections has certified Elrich’s victory on Monday, July 16 and shortly before the results were certified the Blair camp signaled that they would be looking into challenging the results. The combination of glitches by the MVA voter registration and the fact that just 80 votes separated the winner from second place made a move to recount almost inevitable.
“We have analyzed the election results by precinct, reviewed the treatment of thousands of provisional ballots, and spoken with hundreds of individual voters who experienced difficulties registering to vote or casting their ballots,” said David Blair, “and while it is certainly unclear whether a recount will affect the outcome, we believe the narrow margin coupled with the numerous issues impacting the election make a recount appropriate.”
This year’s Primary Election was impacted by a variety of unusual circumstances. Most notably, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) technical errors that affected thousands of Montgomery County residents. The MVA issues caused delays and, in some cases, lost or failed voter registrations and resulted in a significant increase of provisional ballots cast over prior elections. The MVA issues also had a deterrent effect that caused an untold number of legally registered voters to leave polling places without casting ballots, and it resulted in the rejection of valid provisional ballots. Of the 3,616 provisional ballots cast in this year’s Primary Election, 955 or 26.4 percent were rejected in the County Executive race.
“Our chief concern centers on the 955 provisional ballots that were rejected by the Board of Elections in the County Executive Race as these rejected ballots disproportionately impact our supporters,” said Blair.
According to the statement, the recount process does not provide a legal avenue for the campaign to get these votes counted. “However, David joins the voters of Montgomery County in being frustrated with the breakdown in process that led to their disenfranchisement and pledges to continue to work with the appropriate officials to fix this error,” said the Blair Campaign press release.
The statement from the Blair Campaign says, “During the official canvass, members of the Montgomery County Board of Elections expressed their own concerns that poor data tied their hands and forced them to reject provisional ball