Board of Elections Finds 102 Uncounted Votes; Final Certification Delayed

photo of David Blair and Marc Elrich

One hundred two provisional ballots that were cast in the Montgomery County executive race were found during a precertification audit late Thursday night by the Montgomery County Board of Elections and will be counted Friday.

Because only 42 votes separate Executive Marc Elrich over businessman David Blair in the Democratic primary, these newly-found provisional ballots have the potential of changing the outcome of that race.

Around 11 p.m. Thursday, Montgomery County’s Acting Election Director, Alysoun McLaughlin, announced, “Our precertification audit identified additional provisional ballots to be counted and the Board of Elections will be unable to certify the election as scheduled at its meeting tomorrow afternoon.” That meeting is set for 3:30 p.m. Friday.

During that meeting, the final primary election votes were expected to be certified. Now on the agenda is a discussion on a schedule for canvass and certification.

According to McLaughlin’s statement, on Thursday, “we pulled our random sample of empty provisional ballot envelopes for audit and were unable to locate one of the randomly selected envelopes where it should have been. In addition, we were unable to resolve a discrepancy between the number of provisional ballots that our staff had recommended that the Board accept, and the number of ballots scanned.”

The statement continued, “Together, these two pieces of information prompted a visual search of folders where provisional ballots had been stored prior to the canvass. Those folders contained 102 unopened, sealed ballot envelopes that were never removed from their folders and presented to the canvass.”

McLaughlin apologized and said, Maryland’s comprehensive precertification audit was designed to identify issues like this before an election is certified to ensure the accuracy of results. It worked as intended.”

Thirty of the just-found ballots were received from Precinct 13-58.  The rest were located from:

• Precinct 06-10 – 1 ballot
• Precinct 06-11 – 1 ballot
• Precinct 06-13 – 14 ballot
• Precinct 06-14 – 7 ballots
• Precinct 06-15 – 15 ballots
• Precinct 13-56 – 12 ballots
• Precinct 13-57 – 10 ballots
• Precinct 13-59 – 12 ballots

Provisional ballots are created when there is an issue about whether the voter is eligible to vote. Therefore, it is not known how many of the 102 ballots will be accepted and added to the final count.

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