ROCKVILLE, Md. - Montgomery County election officials say 102 additional provisional ballots were discovered and will need to be counted delaying the certification in the Democratic primary race for county executive.
Incumbent Marc Elrich has a slight 42 vote lead over businessman David Blair in the race.
Montgomery County's Acting Election Director, Alysoun McLaughlin, said the discovery was made during a precertification audit Thursday.
"Today, we pulled our random sample of empty provisional ballot envelopes for audit and were unable to locate one of the randomly selected envelopes where it should have been," McLaughlin said in a statement released Thursday night. "In addition, we were unable to resolve a discrepancy between the number of provisional ballots that our staff had recommended that the Board accept, and the number of ballots scanned."
"Together, these two pieces of information prompted a visual search of folders where provisional ballots had been stored prior to the canvass," McLaughlin's statement continued. "Those folders contained 102 unopened, sealed ballot envelopes that were never removed from their folders and presented to the canvass from the following precincts:
- Precinct 06-10 – 1 ballot
- Precinct 06-11 – 1 ballot
- Precinct 06-13 – 14 ballots
- Precinct 06-14 – 7 ballots
- Precinct 06-15 – 15 ballots
- Precinct 13-56 – 12 ballots
- Precinct 13-57 – 10 ballots
- Precinct 13-58 – 30 ballots
- Precinct 13-59 – 12 ballots
McLaughlin apologized for the error. "I want to emphasize that Maryland's comprehensive precertification audit was designed to identify issues like this before an election is certified to ensure the accuracy of the results. It worked as intended," she said.
McLaughlin said that she will review the rest of the audit before asking the Board of Elections to certify the results of the election. The Board is expected to meet Friday afternoon to discuss the findings.
Elrich has claimed victory in the tight race. Blair called for a recount and released the following statement:
"This is what the final audit process is for. We continue to be confident in the process and appreciative of the Board of Elections and staff for their diligence and commitment to ensure every vote is counted."
It’s not clear how the 102 votes that will be canvassed on Saturday may change the count.