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Maryland mail ballot total climbs to nearly 1.5 million; more Election Day results for Baltimore City posted

The counting of mail-in ballots resumed Thursday across Maryland as most of the last batch of Election Day returns for a final group of jurisdictions was reported.

Unlike some states, which did not begin counting mail-in ballots until Election Day, counties in Maryland have been scanning and tabulating since early October. That gave the state a jump on the 1.3 million mail-in ballots that were returned before Tuesday.

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As of Thursday morning, Maryland had received 1,474,963 mail-in ballots, of which roughly 600,000 remained to be counted, state election officials said.

Any ballots that were returned on Election Day or have arrived since then via mail will be counted this week and possibly next. Such ballots had to be postmarked or in a drop box by 8 p.m. Tuesday.

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Provisional ballots cast at in-person vote centers must also be examined to make sure the voter who cast them is eligible. Provisional ballots are due to be canvassed Nov. 12. The state has not yet released the number of provisional ballots cast.

As mail-in ballots were once again being counted, a few of the state’s largest jurisdictions, including Baltimore County, finished uploading in-person vote totals from Election Day. State election officials announced Wednesday that the process was taking longer than usual due to a prompt issued by election software that highlights each time a countywide voting center doesn’t have votes from an individual precinct.

Late Wednesday, state officials said three jurisdictions — Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Prince George’s County — halted the initial upload of data that is used just for election night reporting. They instead focused on a second upload process to a “certified network.”

That process, which typically happens the day after an election, starts from scratch. First, officials re-upload early voting information and then move to Election Day totals, said Nikki Charlson, the state’s deputy election administrator.

All Election Day returns from Baltimore County were posted midday Thursday. Returns from 18 of Baltimore City’s 24 voting centers were posted around 4 p.m. Charlson said there were a “handful” of thumb drives used in Baltimore City that will require “further review” before returns from those can be uploaded. Charlson said there are always some drives that require additional review. Baltimore’s review was expected to take until at least Friday.

Maryland’s election results are scheduled to be certified Nov. 13, although some local election boards typically exceed that deadline.

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