At a ballot canvass at the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections in Glen Burnie Wednesday, workers reviewed more than 5,700 provisional and mailed ballots cast in last week’s primary elections.
While many federal, state and county races have been called, a few key races, including the Republican county executive primary, were still too close to call after the count finished around 6 p.m. About 7,500 ballots will be counted Friday, the last day of canvassing. Ballots will be accepted by mail until 10 a.m. Friday when counting begins.
Wednesday’s returns showed little change in the undecided races for Republican county executive nominee and three County Council seats.
Edgewater Council member Jessica Haire’s lead over former Annapolis Del. Herb McMillan swelled to more than 1,500 votes, after Wednesday’s returns. Haire has 14,152 votes (43.8%) to McMillan’s 12,751 (39.5%).
One of the closest races is between John Dove and Julie Hummer, two Democrats running to represent District 4 on the County Council, a seat soon to be vacated by Andrew Pruski, who reached his term limit this year. Pruski won his primary for District 33A in the House of Delegates, according to The Associated Press.
Hummer leads with 2,454 votes (39.3%), followed by Dove with 2,389 votes (38.3%).
“We’ve done everything we can do,” Dove said.
In the Republican District 4 primary, Cheryl Renshaw has 952 votes (53%), and leads Tom Wieland, who has 849 (47%).
Shannon Leadbetter, 2,489 votes (39%), leads the GOP District 7 primary for the seat soon to be vacated by Haire, followed by Dawn Pulliam, 1,976 votes (31%), and Cailey Locklair, 1,912 votes (30%).
For complete election returns, go to capitalgazette.com/results.
Of the 2,759 provisional ballots received, 1,867 were accepted in full, which means the ballot was cast in the correct precinct and the voter only submitted one ballot.
Another 223 ballots were accepted in part, meaning some of the votes cast on each ballot were counted while others were rejected because the person most likely voted in the wrong precinct, said Richard Siejack, deputy director of the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections.
Siejack said 669 ballots were rejected, mostly because they were cast by third-party voters.
The board of elections flagged all the provisional ballots counted to ensure it didn’t then count another ballot from the same person that later came in the mail, Siejack said.
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“Our staff are upstairs right now receiving ballots into the system,” Siejack said.
Provisional ballots can be necessary for a variety of circumstances, such as when residents vote in the wrong precinct or county. Poll workers allow them to vote provisionally so the board can check for discrepancies later. They may also be asked to vote this way if they requested a mail-in ballot but have not returned it. Sometimes voters request the mail-in ballot, then find themselves close to a polling place on Election Day and vote in person instead, Siejeck said.
A few candidates came to watch the ballots being counted including District 32 incumbent Del. Mike Rogers, who is projected by The Associated Press to win the Democratic primary.
McMillan said he’s still feeling good about the race, but is frustrated with how long the process has taken and how expensive it’s been.
“Election Day should be like Christmas,” he said. “Election Day is when the presents should be opened.”
As Jenese Jones Oden, vice chair of the Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee, looks ahead to the Nov. 8 primary, she said she’s heard political experts forecast a red wave — an onslaught of Republicans winning seats up and down the ballot, some that were previously held by Democrats. But as she watched the canvass, she said, she felt good about where her party was in the county and state.
“The Republicans will pour money into the red wave, but the blue tsunami is coming,” she said.