Montgomery County Recount Update

I wanted to share this update on the recount in Montgomery County, because it’s a great example of how Maryland’s elections are trustworthy, and our systems are working to ensure every voter counts – especially in close elections like this one!

Common Cause Maryland closely observed this process, and you can read more about what happened below. But first, can you add your name to thank Maryland election workers for ensuring fair, secure, and accurate elections in our state?

After the neck-and-neck initial result,  dozens of local government officials across our state came to Germantown to conduct a recount of the Democratic primary between incumbent Marc Elrich and challenger David Blair for the office of County Executive.

Under Maryland law, any candidate who loses an election for public or party office can ask for a county-funded recount – a repeat tabulation of all votes.

So, working steadily over four days, election workers manually recounted the nearly 45,000  ballots cast, reviewing more than 150 challenges to votes.

Ultimately, the Montgomery County Board of Elections on Wednesday afternoon confirmed that Elric defeated Blair by a final margin of 32 votes — a change of just three votes from earlier this month.

The most likely reason for the vote total to change is because upon manual review, workers can accurately count votes that the machines weren’t able to process. The automated counts can miss valid ballots in 2 main ways

  • An “overvote” – when a voter fills in more than one oval on their ballot, which voids it.
  • An “undervote” – when a voter makes a ballot mark too faint for a machine to recognize and process.

But in either of these cases, an election worker can clearly tell which candidate the voter preferred — like if they darkened ovals next to both candidates’ names but then crossed one out, or if a voter simply didn’t make their marks dark enough, our recount process helps make sure their ballot is included in the final count.

While these delays in proclaiming a winner can be frustrating, it is important to remember that ensuring that every vote is counted is what’s most important.As we’ve witnessed, even a few extra votes can make a big difference – especially in races like these where we typically see tight margins of victory.

In moments like these, I’m especially thankful for our dedicated election workers – especially when they are facing disinformation-fueled threats across the country. Can you add your name to say thanks today?

Having closely followed this recount, I came away with my faith in our election systems renewed – election officials worked diligently to ensure every voter was counted through a secure process, and we came away with a final result that all sides can trust is accurate.

As Maryland prepares for the general election in November, rest assured that Common Cause Maryland will continue our work to ensure Maryland’s commitment to free, fair, and accurate elections.

Thank you again for all that you do,

Morgan Drayton, Policy & Engagement Manager
And the team at Common Cause Maryland