Election officials in Anne Arundel County have finished uploading all the voter data from Election Day memory sticks. However, there is still plenty of work with 61,000 mail-in ballots and 10,800 remaining provisional ballots to be canvassed.
As the canvass continues, the Board of Education races could hang in the balance.
In three districts across the county, the races are separated by a few thousand votes each. Though some of the leading candidates have expressed confidence they will prevail, ballots are still being counted at the Board of Elections headquarters in Glen Burnie. Each of the three districts has more than 7,000 outstanding ballots, enough to upset any race.
In District 2, Robert A. Silkworth is leading Raleigh Turnage, Jr., by about 3,500 votes.
In District 3, Corine Frank is leading Ken Baughman by about 2,000 votes.
In District 6, Joanna Bache Tobin is leading India Ochs by about 3,000 votes.
All three of these races were relatively unchanged by Election Day results as each leader received the majority of those votes. However, mailed ballots have performed differently for each candidate.
The entire canvassing process is being livestreamed on the county’s Youtube channel.
The outstanding ballots could also impact the fate of three of the county’s seven ballot measures, which aim to remove the 1,500 annual working limit for contractual workers, changing the process for procurement and acquisition, and extending the period an acting department head could serve before having to be hired full time or replaced.
Preliminary results reported by the Board of Elections show that even if all 72,112 outstanding ballots turned up against the other four ballot measures, they would still pass.
Here are The Capital’s projections on the ballot questions now that election day results are in:
Question A, which asks voters to approve expanded permission for the county auditor, had 85% of the vote as of Thursday evening.
The measure will allow the auditor to access all records and files related to county business and conduct any financial or performance audit or review of any county office or department. This includes any agency that is funded in part or whole with government funding. This would allow the auditor to investigate any act or allegation of fraud, waste, or county resources abuse. The gap between approval and disapproval is larger than the remaining ballots. This measure will pass.
Questions B, which would grant the Anne Arundel County Council more authority over executive appointments, had 73% of the vote as of Thursday evening.
This will change the appointment process for the county attorney, police chief and fire chief, requiring county council approval rather than the county executive getting to make these decisions alone. The amendment will require the council to approve an appointment and allow the council to prevent the county attorney’s removal with a five-member majority. It also enables the council to block a county executive pick. The gap between approval and disapproval is larger than the remaining ballots. This measure will pass.
Question C, which would eliminate the 1,500 hour limit for county contractual workers, had 63% of the vote as of Thursday evening.
This amendment allows the county to contract workers even after reaching 1,500 hours of employment. Currently, the county has to replace and train new contractors after reaching the 1,500-hour limit. The Capital projects Question C will pass due to the current voting margins.
Question D, which would give the council power to increase the minimum value of purchases and contracts requiring full competitive bidding, had 66% of the vote as of Thursday evening. It changes the process for acquisitions between $25,000 and $100,000. The Capital projects this will pass due to the current voting margins.
Question E, which changes how probation works for police and fire department employees at the beginning of their careers, had 80% of the vote as of Thursday evening. The gap between approval and disapproval is larger than the remaining ballots. This measure will pass.
Question F, which will extend the period any acting department head could serve before having to be hired full time or be replaced, had 59% of the vote as of Thursday evening.
The charter amendment would give the county executive more time to find someone for the job. It would double the period from 60 days to 120 days and allow the County Council to extend the term with two additional six month periods. Outstanding ballots could determine the fate of this measure due to voting margins.
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Question G, which would keep the county’s Human Relations Commission, had 69% of the vote as of Thursday evening.
The commission, which is independent of the legislative and executive branches, can mediate, investigate and adjudicate matters of housing discrimination through the code. Approval from voters would require future administrations to maintain the group. Voting against this measure would allow Pittman or future administrations to disband the group via a bill with the county council. The gap between approval and disapproval is larger than the remaining ballots. This measure will pass.
Election Day results were initially stalled due to the lengthy process of uploading ballot information from every ballot counting machine at all 31 voting centers. Officials said there were about 130 memory sticks or USB drives, and each one took between eight and 10 minutes to upload to the server. The county only had one server to upload results before sending them to the State Board of Elections.
The initial delay was due only to processing time, said Deputy Election Director David Garreis.
They are currently focused on working through the 61,000 mail-in ballots, scanning as many as possible to meet the Nov. 13 deadline. Five ballots of each of the 195 ballot styles will be held to process on the last day, as is the typical procedure, and in accordance with state law, Garreis said. Before the process of those last ballots, the 10,800 provisional ballots will all be processed on Nov. 12.