A day before last week’s primary election results are scheduled to be certified, four votes separate the two Democratic candidates in the District 1 Howard County Council race.
Jon Weinstein, the incumbent in the district that includes Ellicott City, has 3,167 votes and challenger Liz Walsh, a newcomer to county politics, has 3,163 after today’s count of provisional ballots.
Weinstein, the sole incumbent on the five-member council eligible for re-election, held a 37-vote lead, but Walsh gained ground Thursday when provisional ballots were tallied.
Howard County Board of Directors Guy Mickley said there were 860 provisional ballots counted countywide and that he estimated 200 more absentee ballots would be counted. State rules require the absentee ballots be counted by Friday.
Last week’s statewide election had an unusually large number of provisional ballots cast because of a computer glitch in a Department of Motor Vehicles system that was supposed to transfer updated voter information to the state elections board. Maryland drivers can register to vote when they get their license.
If the council race remains this close, Walsh, who previously said she was considering fundraising for a recount if she lost, would be eligible for a free recount. Maryland law provides for a free recount if requested if the top two candidates are within 0.1 percent of one another. Maryland does not provide automatic recounts.
This is a developing story and will be updated.