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Local boards start counting record high number of mail-in ballots

Posted at 7:45 AM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 08:01:09-04

HUNT VALLEY, Md (WMAR) — Local election boards start counting mail in ballots Thursday.

Because of the excessive amount, the results from some primary races could be delayed until the first week of August.

A record high 500,000 voters requested mail in ballots for the primary. In 2018, that number was just over 42,000.

Because of a unique law in Maryland, all of those ballots cannot be counted until the Thursday after the election starting at 10 a.m.

During the general assembly, lawmakers did pass a bill that would have allowed election workers to begin processing mail-in ballots up to eight days before the start of early voting, but Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed that bill citing concerns of election security.

In Baltimore County, they have about 40,000 to count, which is the highest ever for a gubernatorial primary. Because some candidates are within just a few hundred votes from each other, many races can’t be called for another week.

The boards are supposed to get 10 days to canvass, which is the processing and counting of votes, with the goal of finishing July 29, but the state board expects some jurisdictions will take until August 8. There’s a lot more to the process than just running the ballots through a machine.

“Local election officials will check to make sure that the ballot was timely mailed and received that the oath was signed, and if both of those things are correct, then they will open the envelope and pull out the ballot. They'll check to make sure that it can be scanned by the unit, and make sure it's not torn or something spilled on it that will interfere with the ability to count the ballot,” said Nikki Charlson, Deputy Administrator for the State Board of Elections.

The State Board of Elections will post results from mail in ballot counting at the end of each day.

As long as your ballot was post marked by July 19, it will be counted.