Last day of early in-person voting; Maryland primary elections will take time to tally

Early in-person voting ends Thursday for Maryland’s upcoming primary election, Tuesday, July 19, but it will likely take several days to know who won close races after polls close on election night.

By law, Maryland’s Board of Elections can’t begin counting mail-in or absentee ballots until Thursday, July 21 — two days after the election — a holdover from pre-pandemic life.

In 2018, only 30,000 mail-in ballots were requested. This year 490,000 were requested.

So, nearly a half-million mailed-in votes won’t be tallied until two days later, which will likely impact news organizations’ confidence in projecting winners on Election Day, especially on close races.

Maryland’s Board of Elections expects its final canvass to take place July 29 — 10 days after the primary election.

Maryland is the only state delaying the county of mail-in ballots until the Thursday after elections. On May 27, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed bills that would have allowed the early counting, but not reporting, of mail-in ballots, citing concerns about election security.

For more, see WTOP’s Maryland Primary Election Voter Guide 2022.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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