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Ballot Count Continues For Baltimore's Mayoral Race; Brandon Scott's Lead Widens

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Workers are continuing to count votes in Baltimore's tight mayoral primary race.

Canvassing wrapped up around 6:45 p.m. Monday after more than 7,300 additional votes were counted. Baltimore City Elections Director Armstead Jones said they've counted a total of 153,979 votes thus far and will finish the remaining ballots on Tuesday.

Numbers posted on the State Board of Elections' website Monday night showed City Council President Brandon Scott's lead widen over former Mayor Sheila Dixon.

Scott's total vote count climbed to 41,420, while Dixon's climbed to 40,035, giving Scott a one percent lead. Mary Miller remained in third place with 22,010. On Sunday, Scott took the lead in the race for the first time with a narrow 388-vote margin.

The winner will be the Democratic nominee and will appear on the ballot in November against the winner among the seven Republican candidates. Currently, Shannon Wright leads that field with 1,570 votes, equating to 29 percent of the total ballots cast on the GOP side.

In the race for comptroller, three-term councilman Bill Henry leads incumbent Joan Pratt by eight percentage points. Henry has 70,444 votes compared to Pratt's 59,669.

Henry told WJZ Monday night he and his team are confident he will come out on top when all the ballots are counted and is declaring victory.

"The returns we're seeing make it clear that, thanks to the hard work and support of so many Baltimoreans, I will be the Democratic nominee for City Comptroller in November's general election," he said in a statement. "Thanks to the efforts and generosity of so many, this campaign was able to successfully reach the voters of Baltimore City with a simple, powerful message: after 24 years, it's time for change."

Nick Mosby continues to lead the Democratic field for city council president; earlier in the day, his nearest challenger, Shannon Sneed, conceded in the race.

Mosby has 53,844 votes, equating to nearly 41 percent. Sneed is in second with 37,963 votes. The winner will take on Republican challenger Jovani Patterson in the fall.

Patterson, the only Republican on the ballot, has 4,740 votes as of Monday night.

Workers will move on to provisional ballots on Wednesday. Of the roughly 2,000 provisional ballots, 700 were rejected, Jones said.

Jones said extra staff members were brought in to help with the count, and he hopes to have most of the votes counted by Tuesday. They'll handle absentee ballots Friday, hoping to certify the results by week's end.

Going into the day, workers about 13,000 ballots to count and had been exceeding that number in recent days, but thousands remaining were print-from-home ballots, meaning they needed to be transferred over by hand in order to be scanned.

At a City Elections warehouse, workers methodically went through the remaining 13,000 ballots, working in teams to recreate up to 5,000 print-at-home ballots to be scanned.

The count happened under the eye of campaign representatives and the public by webstream.


Scott is now leading for the first time in what has been a drawn-out count.

"We're very encouraged by the results and we're hopeful they will continue to go this way," Scott said.

He said Monday this race is long from over. His team also pointed to late-deciding voters and his engagement in the final days of the campaign as key factors in his support.

Last week when Scott trailed by thousands of votes early, his team said they were confident he would prevail.

"It's just unique. This entire campaign has been unique," Scott said.

Dixon said last Thursday her priority was getting all the votes counted.

"We'll see what happens," Dixon said.

On Monday, she blasted the Board of Elections, suggesting full results should be available by now.

"I'm not, you know, an expert in voting in the process that they're using but the fact that nobody else's numbers moved and that is just kind of hard to believe," she said.

State elections officials said if the race is within a tenth of a percentage point, a candidate could petition for a recount at no cost to them. Both campaigns said they have lawyers ready.

"When it gets tight like this, understandably, people are anxious to get to the end and so am I," Jones said.

Overall turnout in most city council districts has surpassed that of the 2016 Democratic primary, and thousands of votes have yet to be counted.

Stay with WJZ on-air and online for complete election coverage. For the latest results, click here.

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