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Elections

Jessica Haire continues to lead in Anne Arundel County executive race while incumbent Steuart Pittman gains ground with mail-in ballots

As the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections continued ballot canvassing Tuesday, mail-in ballots are so far favoring incumbent County Executive Steuart Pittman. Pittman, a Democrat, has received about 12,400 mail-in ballot votes as of Monday, while his opponent, Republican County Council member Jessica Haire, has around 4,600.

Pittman’s more than 2.5-to-1 advantage among mail-in voters has shrunk Haire’s lead to just over 3,000 votes after two days of ballot canvassing compared to the roughly 11,000-vote lead she held following Election Day. Ballot counters at the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections headquarters in Glen Burnie counted around 21,000 ballots Tuesday. The results of that count were not available by press time.

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Returns last updated Monday night showed Haire leading Pittman 85,293 votes to 82,235 votes. About 2,000 mail-in ballots were counted Saturday and another 4,000 or so email ballots were added Monday.

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“Very simply, this is going to be a close race. Maybe one of the closest races for Anne Arundel County Executive in our county’s history,” Haire said in a campaign email Monday evening, one of her first public comments on the race since canvassing began Thursday.

Pittman has projected confidence despite facing an 11,000-vote deficit between early and Election Day votes, telling his cabinet in an email Nov. 9 that he expected to prevail after mail-in ballots are counted.

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Workers were expected to count around 7,000 email ballots, but only half were scanned Monday evening, said Richard Siejack, deputy director of the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections

“We had ambitious goals, but it just took too long for the teams to finish, so we ended up only scanning about half of the email ballots,” Siejack said, adding that on Tuesday, “We are going back to canvass the regular pre-printed mail-in ballots. We should complete many more than we did today.”

As of Monday, the county had received more than 59,000 mail-in ballots. The remaining mail-in and provisional ballots will be counted throughout the week with roughly 15,000 mail-in ballots being counted on Thursday and Friday and around 7,500 provisional ballots counted Wednesday, Siejack said.

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In her campaign statement, Haire acknowledged she was “up against political headwinds” but said she’s hopeful the provisional ballots will help boost her lead, though the party makeup of those ballots is unclear.

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A broken ballot scanner caused delays in the first canvassing session Thursday when initial returns from 11,200 ballots showed incumbent Pittman had shrunk his deficit to fewer than 6,000 votes. On Saturday, election officials scanned an additional 1,946 ballots, three-quarters of which favored Pittman. The 3,000 or so email ballots counted Monday broke similarly for Pittman.

The election must be certified by Friday.

See full results here

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