Canvassing got underway Thursday in Maryland to start counting mail-in ballots — which could take at least a week, if not longer — to determine the winner in several close contests, including the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
As of 11:24 p.m. Thursday, author and military veteran Wes Moore remains the front-runner in that race with 151,724 votes.
Moore holds a nearly 31,000-vote lead over former Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez (120,784 votes), who told supporters and his campaign team on social media that he will “continue to fight to ensure voters have their voices heard now. Because every vote matters. Onward!”
Comptroller Peter Franchot has received 16,270 mail-in ballots and is in third place with 90,200 votes.
About 508,000 voters requested mail-in ballots, but election officials have received 250,540 as of Wednesday. Ballots postmarked in the mail by Tuesday will still be counted, so the total could increase until the state’s July 29 deadline.
Approximately 30 canvas workers in Prince George’s County counted and scanned approximately 5,222 mail-in ballots at Lake Arbor Elementary in Mitchellville on Thursday.
They completed the work calmly and with some humor inside a multipurpose room without air conditioning on a day that reached a high of 93 degrees with a real-feel temperature of 100 degrees.
County Council member Deni Taveras, who’s term-limited, watched the canvas and stretched her feet on an empty chair sitting on a stage.
“It’s hot in here,” she said to several people fanning themselves.
Although the canvas was scheduled to end at 5:30 p.m., some election workers stayed at least 90 additional minutes to scan more ballots.
“I just applaud the workers being here and doing a job that is part of our democracy,” said Alisha Alexander, the county’s elections administrator.
Several candidates attended the canvas, including Krystal Oriadha, who leads District 7 incumbent Rodney Streeter by almost 2,100 votes in the race for the Democratic nomination.
Oriadha ran for the seat in 2018 and lost by 31 votes.
As of Wednesday, about 2,980 mail-in ballots have been received in the district that includes District Heights, Hillcrest Heights and Suitland.
“I am feeling, really, really, really good right now,” said Oriadha, who’s scheduled to go on vacation soon to the Dominican Republic. “When it’s official, it’s official. I can just really breathe a sigh of relief.”
Former County Council member Eric Olson holds a 960-vote lead in the District 3 race to succeed term-limited Dannielle Glaros, who represents College Park, Landover Hills and Riverdale Park.
“I am grateful to the voters of District 3 for their support in both Early Voting and Primary Day voting,” Olson, of College Park, said in an email Thursday. “We are in a strong position, and I look forward to the mail-in ballot returns.”
On Thursday afternoon, former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler conceded. He stood in sixth place when the statewide canvas began.
In a Facebook message to supporters, he urged voters to “reject the divisive politics and policies of the far right. We must do as Teddy Roosevelt urged; we must demonstrate how to be better as people.”