(GAITHERSBURG & ROCKVILLE, MD)
While candidates and voters are eager to learn the outcome of this year’s elections, complete results will be significantly delayed.
After Gov. Hogan’s ill-advised, partisan veto of Sen. Kagan’s emergency legislation that would have allowed pre-Election Day canvassing of mail-in ballots, July’s Primary Election results were not certified for more than a month. A Court of Appeals ruling allowed Maryland’s 24 counties to start canvassing mail-in ballots before Election Day. Unfortunately, only ten jurisdictions chose this option (Allegany, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Calvert, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, and Washington).
Ballots from these ten counties represent roughly 72% of the mail-in ballots that have been received and logged in as of last night at 6pm (289,112 of the 399,319 total mail-ins). After polls close tonight, these ballots will be reported with those cast during Early Voting and on Election Day (click here for the State Board of Elections’ unofficial results).
Even after tonight, tens of thousands of mail-in ballots will still need to be counted. More than 642,000 were requested statewide; to date, roughly 62% of these ballots have been returned and logged. As mail-in and provisional ballots are canvassed in all 24 jurisdictions, vote totals will be updated regularly.
In many elections, the outcome will be evident from preliminary results. But official certification is likely to take weeks. Sen. Kagan reassured voters of the strength of Maryland’s electoral system stating, “Conspiracy theorists may raise doubts, but I have confidence that our hard-working election officials will conduct a thorough, accurate, and fair election and canvass.”