Why election officials in Md. county held a closed-door meeting on July 4

WASHINGTON — While you were putting the final touches on preparations for July 4 barbecue, or rounding up the kids for the local parade, the Montgomery County Board of Elections held a meeting.

And it was behind closed doors.

A look at the official agenda for the 10 a.m. meeting shows the board met “to entertain a motion to hold an Executive Session to consult with legal counsel.”

While the Maryland political news website Maryland Matters tweeted, “Doesn’t sound very democratic, especially on Independence Day,” Marjorie Roher, the public Information officer for the board, said Maryland open-meeting laws do allow for closed sessions when legal advice is sought.

“It was simply a discussion of process and making sure that everybody was fully prepared for the process that will take place tomorrow,” Roher said.

That process includes counting the provisional ballots in the June 26 primary. It’s a process that’s getting a lot of attention because just 149 votes separate Democratic candidates for county executive: County Council member Marc Elrich and businessman David Blair.

Once the provisional ballots are counted on Thursday, the remaining absentee ballots will be tallied on Friday. When that’s completed, the election will be certified. And on Monday, statewide certification of the election will take place.

The process may not even end there: Petitions for recounts can be filed Monday in local races and on July 12 for statewide races.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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