In the Ward 4 City Council race, Toni Strong-Pratt has petitioned for a recanvass of ballots from the September 21, 2021 primary election. In the official election tally filed with Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County on Wednesday, (Sept. 29), Strong-Pratt lost to incumbent Ward 4 Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson, 228 to 223, a five-vote margin.
In accordance with the Annapolis City Code, a candidate who requests a challenge must also post a bond to cover the recount cost. If the result is reversed, the bond is returned. If the outcome remains the same, the challenger’s bond is not returned and the City uses those funds to cover the cost of the recanvass. The City Code allows four options for the recanvass (estimated cost for each in parentheses):
- manually tabulating the printed report, a process which verifies the tabulation function of the voting machine ($151.31);
- rescanning paper ballots, a process that verifies the accuracy of the tabulators and the uploading of election results ($517.08);
- manually recounting paper ballots, a manual recount of voted paper ballots ($945.98); or
- manually recounting ballot images of voted ballots, a manual recount, and comparison to tabulation functions ($1,071.88).
In addition to the request for a recanvass, challengers must set forth acts of fraud, mistakes, or errors in the count. Strong-Pratt alleged that an unofficial spreadsheet of total ballots cast that was corrected during the Tuesday, September 28 canvass represented a potential irregularity in the final vote count. Official results are those certified by the Board of Supervisors of Elections (BOSE) and filed with the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. Strong-Pratt made no reference to errors in the official count.
Strong-Pratt filed her petition with the court at 11:40 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 1. The deadline to petition for a recanvass was 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1. The recanvass will be conducted at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, at the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections in Glen Burnie.
At 3 p.m. on Friday, October 1, 2021, there will be an administrative hearing in Circuit Court to review the required bond amount.