The methodical process to count the provisional ballots that could decide the Democratic Montgomery County executive race will extend into Friday after elections officials counted 589 of the approximately 3,600 provisional ballots Thursday.
The initial count of about 16 percent of the provisional ballots resulted in the trimming to 141 votes of County Council member Marc Elrich’s 149-vote lead over businessman David Blair. Blair received 143 votes in the initial count compared to Elrich’s 135. Officials counted 474 Democratic ballots in the county executive race from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. Elrich now has 36,252 votes to Blair’s 36,111, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
The other provisional ballots counted were cast by Republicans, unaffiliated voters, members of other political parties or by Democrats who didn’t vote in the county executive race. There are still about 2,000 Democratic provisional ballots left to be tabulated, according to the board’s website.
Board spokeswoman Marjorie Roher said in an email Friday that the board must review each provisional ballot, “which is a very laborious process.”
The elections board was scheduled Friday to begin counting about 4,200 more absentee ballots. The count of absentee ballots is currently scheduled to conclude on Saturday or Sunday—when the first complete unofficial tally could be released. The final election results aren’t scheduled to be certified in the county until July 16.
The count of absentee ballots began last week, and after each count Blair has cut into Elrich’s lead. Elrich held a 492-vote lead after the June 26 primary election day.
In the tight race for the Democratic nomination for the third District 16 delegate seat, teacher Samir Paul saw his 37-vote lead over former ACLU public policy director Sara Love trimmed to 35 votes after Love picked up two votes in the initial provisional count.