The Harford County Board of Elections held the second of three vote canvasses Wednesday to count ballots from this year’s primary election. The results of all county races remain the same following the canvass.
With 51.2% of the vote, Del. Susan McComas held onto her slim lead in the Republican primary for her District 34B seat over challenger Jay Ellenby in one of the county’s two tightest races.
James Reilly, the county’s clerk of the circuit court, and John B. Carl Jr. remain virtually deadlocked in the Republican primary for Harford County Council’s District C seat. Reilly, with 2,817 votes, leads Carl by a mere two votes – one more than he led by after the first canvass.
The second canvass, with 1,949 ballots counted, went smoothly, much like the first one, according to Stephanie Taylor, elections director for the Harford County Board of Elections.
“No problems at all,” Taylor said.
Of the 1,949 ballots counted, 1,200 were accepted mail-in ballots, 671 were fully accepted provisional ballots, and 78 were provisional ballots accepted in part, meaning someone may have filled out the wrong style of ballot and the races they were actually eligible to vote in were counted. Fifty-five provisional ballots were rejected, as were 42 mail-in ballots.
As of Wednesday, the Board of Elections had received a total of 12,086 mail-in ballots. The first canvass, last Thursday, counted around 9,300 ballots, and there are about 1,490 ballots left to count on the final canvass Friday. More ballots, however, could still arrive in the mail, Taylor said.
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During Wednesday’s canvass, bipartisan pairs worked together on various tasks such as opening the mail-in ballots or remaking the web ballots. The Election Board also looked into rejected ballots and voted on how to accept ballots that were incorrectly filled out. Of the 1,490 ballots remaining to be counted, 16 have already been recommended to be rejected, Taylor said
One ballot originally recommended for rejection was accepted by the board. It was a vote from a penitentiary that was signed the day before the election and time stamped the day of the election but not postmarked until after the election.
Various candidates were observing the canvass, including McComas, Carl, Del. Mike Griffith, Del. Teresa Reilly and Michelle Karczeski, who leads the Republican primary for the clerk of the circuit court with 55.8% of the vote over County Council member Chad Shrodes.
“I want to be educated about the process,” Karczeski said. “I think it’s very professional. You can tell it’s a defined process. They take it very seriously and are doing their best.”