Election week has come and gone, but for at least two noteworthy races in Baltimore County and Baltimore City, multiple days of ballot counting has not been enough to separate winners from losers.
The race for Baltimore County state’s attorney remains undecided despite officials counting nearly 83,000 votes cast during early voting, on primary day and via mail-in ballots. Incumbent Scott Shellenberger has a narrow 1,793-vote lead over challenger Robbie Leonard. That gives Shellenberger 51.1% of the votes counted so far, compared to Leonard’s 48.9%.
With about 11,000 ballots outstanding in Baltimore County, the race is still too close to call. While Leonard received more Election Day and early votes, mail-in votes have largely been favoring Shellenberger. Both are Democrats. Leonard did receive more votes during Monday’s count, however, narrowing the gap between the candidates.
The job pays about $217,000.
Baltimore County election officials, who spent the weekend tallying votes, took a break from counting Tuesday. Counting will resume Wednesday when officials in Baltimore County and across the state can begin counting provisional ballots in accordance with state law.
Provisional ballots are cast by voters who believe they are eligible to participate in an election. Local boards analyze each ballot to determine if a voter is registered and eligible. If so, that ballot is counted.
County officials said they plan to finish counting and certify results on Friday.
In Baltimore City, the marquee race for state’s attorney was decided late last week when challenger Ivan Bates claimed victory over incumbent State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and former prosecutor Thiru Vignarajah.
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However, the much-watched Democratic primary race for sheriff, typically a sleeper given the 33-year tenure of incumbent John Anderson, remains too close to call.
Challenger Sam Cogen expanded his lead over Anderson to 2,473 votes Monday, the widest margin the former sheriff’s deputy has held thus far. However, Baltimore still has about 3,600 mail-in ballots to be counted with the addition of 1,406 new ballots marked as received overnight Monday.
Another roughly 4,000 provisional ballots also still must be counted. Only 700 of those had been deemed ineligible, city Elections Director Armstead Jones said Tuesday morning.
Anderson’s salary was about $157,000 in fiscal year 2021.
City elections officials also took a break Tuesday from ballot counting, using the day to unpack equipment and provisional ballots, Jones said.
An unknown number of Baltimore voters were asked to cast provisional ballots on primary day due to mistakes made during the redistricting process. State election officials said some city voters were mistakenly assigned to the wrong district during redistricting. Political district lines are adjusted every 10 years following the U.S. Census.
As a result, some voters received multiple mail-in ballots for different districts. About 1,300 received incorrect voter registration cards listing the wrong polling place for their location. All affected voters were asked to cast provisional ballots when they arrived at polling places last Tuesday.