Throughout the canvass, Board of Canvassers sorted absentee ballots into five boxes: accepted, rejected, accepted but challenged, rejected but challenged, and set aside for further review.
The challenged ballots were then further separated by the type of challenge.
The long, tense day took its toll on the Board of Canvassers, all unpaid volunteers. At one point in the evening, Chairman Michael Parmele called for a brief recess "if for no other reason than to tell my wife I'm still alive."
While the attorneys and campaign managers remained throughout the day, the rest of the audience waxed and waned as the hours wore on. Several elected officials and a few unsuccessful candidates were among those who stopped by.
Cohen's mother and Pantelides' father were among the most alert observers of the meeting.
After night fell, the crowd swelled to several dozen, who sat on squeaky folding chairs. Audience members grew impatient, at times shouting for the board to tally the accepted ballots.
Parmele implored them to stay calm: "Please understand the mountain we're under. ... Yelling at us for whatever reason is not necessary," he said.
Most of the challenges and questions were raised by lawyers. Annapolis resident Meg Moffat was the only member of the public to challenge ballots.
Moffat, who said she works in marketing, said she felt it was important to ensure that all elections laws are followed. Her biggest concern was absentee ballots that were not postmarked.
"We have an elections body that's not following the code," Moffat said. She said she's not a formal part of either campaign but is "concerned about the direction our city is going" and favored one candidate. She declined to say who.
Despite the frustrations of the day, Moffat said the event was "a real education" and gave her some hope.
"It's inspiring that people are trying to make it work," she said.
Joe Cluster, the new director of the Maryland Republican Party, said he hoped Pantelides would maintain his lead through the absentee count.
"This is a huge win if we can hold onto it," Cluster said, noting that Democrats have a 2-to-1 edge in registration over Republicans in Annapolis. One of the state's most powerful Democrats, House Speaker Michael E. Busch, lives in Annapolis.
"If we can win in Mike Busch's Annapolis district, we can win anywhere in the state," Cluster said.
Cluster said the Maryland Republican Party would support any legal challenge brought by Pantelides.
The next mayor of Annapolis will preside over a City Council dominated by Democrats. Absentee ballots were not expected to change the outcome of the races for aldermen, which ended with seven Democrats and one Republican winning.
As Parmele recessed the meeting after 19.5 hours and coffee and doughnuts were brought in, Cohen attorney Eric Lipsetts publicly praised the Board of Canvassers for their diligence, and the few dozen observers and lawyers from both campaigns broke into applause.