How Montgomery County’s primary race recount will work

Montgomery County’s recount is set to begin Friday after businessman David Blair fell behind incumbent Marc Elrich by only 35 votes in the race for the Democratic nomination for the Maryland county’s executive.

Gilberto Zelaya, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Board of Elections, said preparations are underway at the Germantown Recreation Center — the location for the second tally of the votes.

“We’re still going to do some rehearsal. It’s almost like putting [on] a Broadway show, and we’re going rehearse kind of the process for the staff,” Zelaya said.

Zelaya said only Board of Elections staff can recount the ballots, so all but two of the office’s 96 employees will be a part of the process.

Since the county is short of the staff it needs, a request for help has gone out to the board of elections in neighboring counties. The goal is to have 50 teams of two counting the ballots.

The board hopes that the office will know how “many of our neighboring jurisdictions could roll up their sleeves to help us out,” and how many tables can be set up for counting.

Day One of counting will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday and end at 7:30 p.m. The teams will return on Saturday to continue the counting.

“We will be using Day One, which will be Friday, as a benchmark to see, to kind of ascertain how many days it could take to complete the recount,” Zelaya said.

Zelaya said schedule updates will be posted on the BOE’s website. The public is also encouraged to see democracy in action by either watching the recount’s livestream online or by coming to the Germantown Recreation Center to see it happening in real life.

“There is a livestream, but there’s nothing like observing it in person,” Zelaya said.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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