After originally trailing by fewer than 60 votes, Jerry Donald is now leading his opponent in his re-election bid for the Frederick County Council’s District 1 seat.

With the first round of absentee ballots now counted, Donald leads Republican Kevin Grubb by 209 votes as of Friday. After ballots were counted on Election Day, Donald trailed his opponent by 57 votes.

“I’m very excited about that. ... I feel good about it right now. It’s not absolute, but I feel good about it,” Donald said when reached Friday night.

Donald has experience with close elections. Four years ago, after all the ballots were counted, canvassed and certified, Donald (D) defeated Republican Ellen Bartlett in the District 1 race by 25 votes.

The District 1 race is important because it will likely determine whether the next council has a Democratic or Republican majority. As of Friday evening, Kai Hagen (D) leads Republicans Phil Dacey and Danny Farrar for the first of two at-large seats, and it’s likely those seats will be split along party lines when all votes are counted.

In the other races, Steve McKay (R) and Michael Blue (R) were elected to districts 2 and 5, respectively — pending the certification of those ballots. Democrats M.C. Keegan-Ayer and Jessica Fitzwater were re-elected to districts 3 and 4, respectively.

Donald said his election four years ago was close, even after election officials started to canvass following Election Day.

“Last time, we were exactly tied after the first batch of absentee [ballots], if I’m not mistaken,” he said.

He said earlier on Friday that he’s waiting to see what all the absentee and provisional ballots show, but that it’s “encouraging” that the canvassing of absentee ballots show more registered Democrats than Republicans.

A canvass of provisional ballots on Wednesday showed 1,684 of those ballots were cast, according to Election Director Stuart Harvey. Of those, 894 were from registered Democrats, 434 from registered Republicans and 356 were from other voters.

A second canvass of more provisional ballots will occur Nov. 14, and more absentee ballots will be counted on Nov. 16. The election will also be certified on the latter date if the current schedule holds.

Harvey said the deadline for any candidate to ask for a recount is three days after the election is certified. If the current schedule holds, that would mean candidates have to request a recount by the end of the day on Nov. 19.

Any recount, however, wouldn’t occur that week, because of Thanksgiving and other requirements, Harvey said.

“You can’t start the recount right away, because you have to advertise it,” he said. “The recount, at the earliest, would be the following week.”

The new County Council, per the county charter, will be sworn in Dec. 3, the first Monday of December.

Harvey said he isn’t concerned about that deadline, since a recount for the District 1 race would probably take two or three days.

All election results remain unofficial until absentee ballots and provisional ballots are counted, and canvassing of all ballots occurs.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel.

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(35) comments


There is positive, compelling story here. When he ran in 2014 some of his ex-students reached out to their classmates who were away in new jobs, in the service or enrolled in college and organized an absentee ballot campaign, which provided the margin of victory. It appears to be happening again this year. What could be better for our future society, than a beloved teacher who so connects with his students that they choose to get involved and vote, unlike most of their peers? This is all good. Bob Lewis


This almost sounds like the Frederick County version of Broward County -- except we can trust Mr. Harvey.


FYI I learned something new today. It is not illegal to vote twice or more. In Maryland it is not against the law to vote in Maryland and in another State. I would have thought it would be against Federal laws. I wondered if that information is not shared by political organizations recruiting potential voters.


You better check that, Jim. If you move to another state, you are supposed to register in the state you moved to. If you vote in the old precinct the only votes that will be counted are those that would be counted at your new state residence. And if you don't tell the state you moved from, about your new residence, it's voter fraud. Just a few years ago a lady moved to Florida and votedhere too. She was convicted of voter fraud. Having said that let me say it is difficult to catch. If you know someone that did that, turn them in to the law.


Nice to hear that things are looking up for Jerry Donald. And the likelihood that the Democrats retain their 4 to 3 majority on the council.


[thumbup]Jerry, Jerry[thumbup]


Yea the Demo`s have to go beyond everything to get a BLUE win. They have been going through withdraws, restless and need to take a seat in office to go back destroying everything again.




Pappy, there's one thing that the Democrats can't destroy, your English.

Jody Brumage

I'm not sure that counting the votes qualifies as a "beyond everything" tactic...


The democrats will one way or another. If they do not win in the election, then they want a recount, if that does not work then the court system???????????


Dang, Elymus, what is your damage? That looks like something JSK would write.


You mean like how in 2000 the Dems went to the Supreme Court? Like that?


elymus - nonsense


As of today, my absentee ballot has not been counted. Mailed it in four weeks ago.


And you know this how? What I don’t like about the voting system is you do not get back anything showing how your ballot was entered. I remember when we use to get a “receipt” of your ballot and not just it being scanned and eaten by the machine. Let’s just hope that we don’t get as bad as Florida, Georgia or Arizona and their vote scandal. Funny how a majority of “late” votes seem to be mostly democrat. Coincidence?


I don't know User1, Do you suppose it has something to do with the fact that there are about twice as many Democrats than Republicans in Frederick that filed to vote by absentee ballot? You think that might be a factor?? No, of course not, it was Hillary's doings. You caught us. Darn. Oh well, I guess she is going to jail for this one[ninja]


Conspiracy man strikes again. [lol][lol]


As I Ben saying for the last 6 years, thanks to ba’lane young, Frederick county is turning blue, one new house at a time.


Fingers crossed for Jerry!!!


Congratulations, Jerry. I knew last time you got most of the mail in votes. Of course, last time you had what I considered an invalid candidate. It was hard to believe anyone would votefor Ellen.


People don’t know who or what they’re voting for. They just see a name with an R and check it off


That is exactly right. My pet goldfish, Bob, who I might add is an excellent listener, hates "red tape," and wants to eliminate waste, has decided to register as an "R." and run for something in the next election cycle.


Bob is a big fan of property rights too. He'll be unstoppable in the primary. I'm not sure yet if I'll vote for him in the general election. He has lied to me in the past about whether an increase in assessed value is actually a "tax increase."


In this case not someone with an "R" but many feel there exist a conflict of interest with Mr. Donald serving on the council.




False assumption.


With all the events happening in this country concerning elections makes you wonder about the absentee ballots here. Seeing the very well funded ads of Mr. Donald plastered everywhere one can only assume, knowing this would be a tight race, that the drive for absentee voters must have been equally well funded. You mentioned Ellen Bartlett .It was unbelievable she even got close. I voted against Mr. Donald and I did not even know who he was running against.


What you seem to fail understanding is Jerry has a lot of young people voting for him. Because he taught them, as a teacher, here in Middletown. Why anyone would vote against Jerry and vote for Ellen is a real mystery. Ellen couldn'teven count her fingers right. I remember going to a meeting in Brunswick, where all the candidates were present, back in 2014. Someone askedEllen a question and she yelled to Blaine, in the back of the room to get the answer. You want that kind of idiot to represent you?

Now Grube is a good person. If the Republicans really knew what they are doing, they would have voted for him in the primary four years ago and we would have a very good Sheriff. Unfortunately, the Republicans prefer a good ole boy.


What you also fail to understand is that there is no separate "ads" or budget for absentee/mail-in ballots. Voters like you scare me.


Shift - [thumbup][thumbup]


Congratulations so far Mr. Donald!

- Former students parent


It is not the man the people voted against it is the system. Over the next couple of years across the country I believe we will continue to see a strong push against the current public education system. Unfortunately that fight will take place in the courts not the legislature.


Did I miss something?

Public Education was settled in courts by “Brown verses board of Ed, Topeka”.


jsk be trippin!

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