Jacky McCoy now leads Howard school board race after latest mail-in ballot count; several thousand ballots remain to be canvassed

Jacky McCoy took the lead in the tightly contested race for two at-large seats on the Howard County Board of Education, after more than 16,600 mail-in ballots were canvassed Thursday.

But the race is far from decided, as about 3,500 ballots remain to be counted, Board of Elections Director Guy Mickley said Friday. Canvassing sessions to count remaining mail-in and provisional ballots are scheduled for Wednesday and Nov. 18.


Linfeng Chen, of North Laurel, was the top vote-getter after Election Day precincts and a portion of mail-in ballots were tallied and reported Tuesday night.

McCoy, of Columbia, now leads the field of four candidates with 49,665 votes (27.36%), followed by Chen with 48,198 (26.55%), Dan Newberger, of Columbia, with 46,960 (25.87%) and Tudy Adler, of Clarksville, with 35,768 (19.70%).


“I’m feeling good,” Chen said Friday morning. “My job is done on the campaign side so I’m taking some break with my family and just waiting for the results.”

McCoy’s standing was boosted by a strong performance in mail-in ballots, where she has received 13,122 votes to Chen’s 9,178.

Maryland Policy & Politics

Maryland Policy & Politics


Keep up to date with Maryland politics, elections and important decisions made by federal, state and local government officials.

Newberger, who finished first in the July primaries, has received the second-most mail-in ballot votes after Thursday with 12,516.

The number of remaining mail-in ballots will likely increase again, since ballots postmarked on or before Nov. 8 and received by the county board by 10 a.m., Nov. 18 are eligible to be counted.

Canvassing at the Kenneth Ulman Innovation Hub in Columbia finished shortly after 11 p.m., Thursday, according to Mickley.

“It was a grind,” said Mickley, who added that the board received about 2,400 “wet deliveries,” paper ballots that aren’t physically capable of being run through scanners and need to be manually recreated by staff, a time-consuming process.

While the elections board originally anticipated counting about 17,500 mail-in ballots Thursday, Mickley said the number dipped after his team ran out of time to finish quality assurance checks.

“The nice thing is we have two more canvasses, so those ballots aren’t going anywhere,” he said.


Official certification of election results will take place Nov. 18; new school board and county council members will be sworn in Dec. 5.