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Howard council incumbent seeks recount after two-vote loss

Kate Magill
Contact ReporterHoward County Times

Howard County Councilman Jon Weinstein has asked for a recount in the District 1 Democratic primary after losing to Liz Walsh by two votes last week.

Weinstein announced his decision for a full manual recount of absentee, provisional and election day ballots today. He said he heard from nearly 200 constituents and community leaders over the weekend urging him to request the recount and wanted to ensure every vote was tallied correctly in a race he called a “virtual tie.”

Weinstein held a 41-vote lead over Walsh on election day, June 26. After provisional ballots were counted, the lead shrank to four votes. On Friday after the last of absentee ballots were tallied, the election had flipped in Walsh’s favor by two votes, making it one of the closest local races in Maryland history.

The county Board of Elections has begun preparing for a recount, expected to start Wednesday morning, according to director Guy Mickley. County elections workers will be joined by staff from state, Carroll and Baltimore county elections offices.

During the recount, which is expected to be complete in a day, teams of four will manually recount the ballots. The teams include a watcher to oversee their vote caller’s work, a caller who will read aloud whether a ballot was marked for Walsh, Weinstein or neither, and two talliers to mark down every vote. The groups will work through 10 ballots at a time. After each set of ballots is recounted, talliers compare their vote marks to ensure accuracy.

In the case of an “overvote,” where a selection couldn’t be clearly determined due to stray or extra marks, a board will review the ballot. Decisions to disallow a ballot must be unanimous and are final. The state’s third-party verification system found two ballots were overvotes.

If the recount flips the result, Walsh will have two days to ask for another review, according to Mickley.

Mickley estimated that the recount would cost $25,000, shared by the state and county.

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This story was featured in The Sun's Alexa Flash Briefing on July 9, 2018.

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