This story was updated at 4:40 p.m. Aug. 15, 2022, to include updated information about when the recount could begin.
Challenger David Blair plans on requesting a manual recount of all paper ballots cast in the Democratic primary for Montgomery County executive, according to a campaign spokesperson.
County Executive Marc Elrich beat challenger David Blair, a businessman, by 35 votes in the July 19 primary, according to the results certified Saturday by the county Board of Elections. The results were certified after county election workers canvassed an additional 102 provisional ballots found last week.
According to state law, Blair’s campaign has three days to submit a petition to the county elections board to request the recount. Aaron Kraut, a spokesman for Blair’s campaign, wrote Monday in a text that Blair will submit the recount petition at noon Tuesday.
Kraut added that Blair plans on requesting “a manual recount of voted paper ballots involved in the recount,” one of the options outlined by the State Board of Elections. Alysoun McLaughlin, the county’s acting election director, wrote in a text message on Monday that the Board of Elections won’t have enough members for a quorum to begin the recount until Friday, Aug. 19.
In the county executive race in 2018 — a contest in which Elrich beat Blair by 77 votes — Blair requested a partial recount that included some polling places. That recount involved absentee (now called mail-in) and provisional ballots, along with ballots from early voting at Potomac Community Recreation Center and Election Day voters at a Clarksburg polling place. About 15,200 ballots were involved.
Because of the greater scope of this recount, the process will likely take longer than the 2018 recount, which was completed in a day. In total, more than 140,000 ballots were cast in the county executive race. It’s unclear how many were paper, but given the number of provisional, mail-in ballots, and overall number of people who voted in this year’s primary, there will be tens of thousands more ballots involved in the recount.
McLaughlin has said she doesn’t know how long a recount will take, but that she has requested staff help for a minimum of three days from county election boards in neighboring jurisdictions.