The Howard County Board of Elections completed its canvass of the remaining absentee votes Friday afternoon.
According to Board of Elections Director Guy Mickley, Board of Education Write-in candidate Mavourene Robinson received just 92 votes in what proved to be a quixotic campaign. This is less than one vote per precinct.
A total of 385,781 votes were cast in the Board of Education races. A total of 1,685 write-in votes were received, but other than the 92 votes for Robinson, the remaining votes were invalid with many being for fictitious characters.
194,283 under votes were recorded where the voter chose less than four candidates, and 804 ballots contained over votes.
Vicky Cutroneo and Chao Wu were the top two vote winners and will get 4-year terms with 58,426 and 54,254 votes respectively. Jen Mallo and Sabina Taj will get 2-year terms with 53,766 for Mallo and 51,842 for Taj.
As a comparison of how far behind Robinson was, Danny Mackey came in eighth place with 36,923 votes.
Katie Fry Hester increased her lead Friday morning over Gail Bates for the District 9 Senate seat. Shortly after 1:30 am, the Howard County Canvassing Board announced the results of the first canvass of absentee ballots.
Hester now leads Bates by 531 votes. The absentee canvass result was 1076 for Hester and 707 for Bates. After election night on Tuesday, Hester held a lead of 154 votes. Earlier in the day Thursday, the results of the absentee canvass in Carroll County was announced. Hester picked up 8 votes in the Carroll portion of the district with votes 116 while Bates had 108 votes. Hester now has 32,366 votes to 31,835 for Bates.
The all-day canvass began at 10 am Thursday in Columbia. A total of 4375 absentee ballots were processed. 4356 were accepted while 19 were rejected. The major time-consuming step is that emailed ballots had to be recreated by hand onto machine-readable ballots.
Voters should be reminded to remember to sign the oath and to NOT print the oath of an emailed ballot on the back of the ballot itself. Also do NOT write your name on the top the ballots apparently to differentiate which ballot belongs to the various members in a household. Also do NOT send in the ballot for the primary election. All of these ballot mistakes were rejected.
Representatives for Gail Bates challenged the decision to reject 6 ballots which had the oath printed on the back of the ballot arguing unsuccessfully that the double-sided printing was inadvertent and not done “purposefully” to place an identifying mark on the ballot.
The provisional and additional absentee canvasses will be conducted next week.
UPDATE: This post was updated to add the information on the number of ballots processed and the major reasons for rejections.