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Rival Camps Line Up for MoCo's Absentee Count

It didn't have the drama of the 2000 Florida recount, but there was lots of anticipation and excitement at the Montgomery County Board of Elections this afternoon as officials began the tedious process of sifting through more than 700 absentee ballots.

The count is expected to determine the outcome of the Democratic primary contest to fill the District 4 seat on the County Council left open by the death in January of Don Praisner.

School Board member Nancy Navarro has claimed victory over Del. Benjamin F. Kramer. But she was ahead by less than 80 votes with all precincts reporting on election night.

The importance of the count was made clear by the presence at the Board of Elections of sizable legal and political teams representing the two camps. Navarro has hired attorney Jonathan Shurberg, who worked on Equality Maryland's challenge to a ballot measure to overturn Montgomery's transgender rights law. Kramer has tapped Joseph Sandler, an election lawyer who was general counsel to the Democratic National Committee.

Inside the canvass room, rival campaign representatives lined up on opposite sides like guests at a wedding. Board of Elections members sat at a head table at the front, with canvassers assigned to smaller side tables. The review began at approximately 1:30 p.m., with representatives from each team checking for missing signatures on individual ballots before sending them on to the canvassers.

Spokeswoman Marjorie Roher said she expects results from today's count of 723 ballots to be posted on the board's web site by 6 p.m. Another 86 provisional ballots are scheduled to be counted next week, in addition to any other absentee ballots that arrived after election day with the proper postmark.

By Ann Marimow  |  April 23, 2009; 2:24 PM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow , Montgomery County  
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