March 15, 2023
Sen. Cheryl Kagan, D-Montgomery, introduced eight pieces of legislation in an election reform package. (The Daily Record file/Bryan P. Sears)
ANNAPOLIS – It took 36 days after the 2022 primary election to declare incumbent Marc Elrich as the Democratic nominee for Montgomery County Executive.
Though Election Day occurred on July 19, the Montgomery County Board of Elections didn’t certify the results until Aug. 24. Elrich defeated challenger David Blair by 32 votes, an even slimmer margin than the 77-vote difference during their previous battle in 2018.
In those 36 days, canvassers counted thousands of ballots — escalated by a recount — while about 1 million residents waited to find out who their next county executive would be in the heavily-Democratic area.
The delay came in part because then-Gov. Larry Hogan, R, vetoed legislation that would have allowed precincts to count mail-in ballots before Election Day.
Now there’s a new Democratic governor and new legislation from Sen. Cheryl Kagan, D-Montgomery. The upper chamber passed the new version of the bill on Tuesday. If it reaches the governor’s desk, Wes Moore will likely sign it into law.
SB 379 is one of eight pieces of legislation in Kagan’s election reform package designed to fix these scenarios.
Almost 70,000 people voted by mail-in or provisional ballot in the race, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections.
Nikki Tyree, executive director of the Maryland League of Women Voters chapter, said voters expect to know results on election night.