Here’s the Process for Counting Absentee and Provisional Ballots that Will Decide the Montgomery County Executive Democratic Primary

Marc Elrich leads David Blair by less than 500 votes, with potentially more than 10,000 ballots left to be counted

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Marc Elrich, left, David Blair, right

The vote-counting process to determine the Democratic nominee for Montgomery County executive is expected to play out over the next week as absentee and provisional ballots are counted.

Potomac businessman David Blair trails at-large County Council member Marc Elrich of Takoma Park by 452 votes after all the county’s primary election day precincts reported results. The count is also expected to decide the race for the Democratic nomination for the third District 16 delegate seat in which teacher Samir Paul holds a 118-vote lead over former ACLU public policy director Sara Love.

However, there are still potentially more than 10,000 ballots that need to be counted. Here’s what will happen over the next week and a half:

Thursday – The Montgomery County Board of Elections will begin the first canvass to count absentee ballots. As of Monday, the county had received about 4,900 absentee ballots from Democrats out of the 11,650 Democratic ballots that were sent out. The count will begin at 1 p.m. Thursday, according to Marjorie Roher, spokeswoman for the county board. She said the board will also create a page on its website to inform voters about the results of the count. The page is scheduled to be launched before the count begins.

Thursday, July 5 – This is when the board will count the 3,614 provisional votes cast during early voting and the primary election. State transportation officials estimated 81,000 voters in Maryland were impacted due to a computer glitch that failed to update address or political party affiliation changes they made through the Motor Vehicle Administration. Affected voters were required to cast provisional ballots and election officials must review their information to make sure they were eligible to vote.

Friday, July 6 – The second canvass of absentee ballots will take place. Election officials will count all the absentee ballots the county received after the initial canvass on June 28. Any absentee ballot that was postmarked as of primary election day will be counted, Roher said.

Monday, July 9 – This is the deadline for the state to certify election results and also the deadline for any candidate to petition for a recount of a local race, such as county executive.

Thursday, July 12 – This is the last day for a candidate to petition for a recount of the results of a race for a state office.

It’s likely that given how close both the county executive Democratic primary and the District 16 delegate races are that the final outcome won’t be known until after the provisional ballots are counted or perhaps even later—after the second count of absentee ballots on July 6.

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