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Mail-in ballots continue to favor Bates in Baltimore state’s attorney race

  • July 29, 2022

Though thousands of mail-in ballots remain to be counted in the Democratic primary for Baltimore state’s attorney, early returns Thursday favored defense attorney Ivan Bates, who also came out ahead of two-term incumbent Marilyn Mosby in Election Day and early voting.

Baltimore Board of Elections staff began canvassing mail-in ballots Thursday morning, launching a process that is likely to take several days as staff members laboriously tally more than 20,000 ballots sent in by city voters.

As of Thursday evening, about 10,000 ballots had been counted. Bates won more than 3,700 votes, topping Mosby’s 2,100 votes. Thiru Vignarajah, a former deputy attorney general, won the most mail-in ballots on Thursday, with just over 4,000, but the votes did not make up for his third-place performance on Election Day.

The early tally did not bode well for Mosby, who needs a significant number of mail-in ballots to make up for Election Day’s results.

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby speaks before supporters and campaign workers at Melba's Place on primary election night in Baltimore.  Mosby has to capture roughly half of the mail-in ballots in the three-candidate race to overtake Ivan Bates.  (The Baltimore Sun via AP)

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby speaks before supporters and campaign workers at Melba’s Place on primary election night in Baltimore. (The Baltimore Sun via AP)

With all precincts reporting, Bates had 41% of the Election Day and early vote, while Mosby had 32% and Vignarajah lagged behind with 26%. Mosby needs about half of the mail-in ballots to go her way in order to secure a victory, a prospect that began to look less likely as Thursday’s canvass got underway.

As of Thursday morning, more than 22,000 Democratic mail-in ballots had been returned, or just over 50% of those sent out to voters. It is difficult to predict how many ballots are likely to return in the coming days, given the changes in voting patterns that took place during the pandemic.

In 2018, for example, the statewide return rate on mail-in ballots was about 70%, but in

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