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Thousands of uncounted ballots could determine Baltimore City Council's tight races

Thousands of votes still to be tallied with tight races to be decided
Thousands of votes still to be tallied with tight races to be decided 02:34

BALTIMORE -- Thousands of provisional ballots still need to be counted which could determine the results for three close Baltimore City Council races.

The provisional ballots, which voters use when there are questions on eligibility or residency, were to be counted Wednesday.

Jermaine Jones, running for the District 12 seat, visited the West Baltimore warehouse where these votes are counted. He holds a slim lead over incumbent Councilman Robert Stokes. His race still hasn't been called.

"I commend the volunteers and the folks who come in to canvass these ballots," Jones said. "There's a lot of manual work, there's a lot I've learned that happens after election day to ensure every vote is counted."

The races for District 8 and District 12 also are still too close to call. 

Paris Gray leads Bilal Ali in District 8.

However, the closest race is the District 11 race between incumbent Councilman Eric Costello and Zac Blanchard. Blanchard currently has a very slight lead.

Blanchard said even a lot of his supporters have been surprised at how close the race is.

"I just think a lot of people assume that an incumbent with money and endorsements is just automatically going to win," Blanchard said.

Aside from counting, election workers are verifying thousands of provisional ballots. In most cases, checking to see if the voter is eligible.

But, there was a case where one vote came in wet, making one race unclear.

In that case, "the [Board of Elections] has to meet to determine what to do with that ballot. It was determined since both areas were marked on top of the watermark, that that race would not count," said Armstead Jones, election director for the Baltimore City Board of Elections.

There are also still thousands of mail-in ballots coming in, which, as long as they're postmarked May 14, will be counted.

"Whatever we have left has to be done by Friday," Armstead Jones said.

There was a vote discrepancy where nearly 600 votes were reported in 10 precincts. 

The Maryland Board of Elections said Tuesday in a news release that it happened because of human error.

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