ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Too close to call. Late into the night in Annapolis, ballots are being counted and re-counted in a high drama race to decide the state capital’s next mayor.

Pat Warren has the latest on the vote count.

They started at 9 a.m. Thursday and they’re still at it. Before they can even count the votes, they have to deal with the challenges.

It’s a first for Annapolis — the outcome of the mayor’s race hinges on a few hundred absentee ballots.

A battery of lawyers for each candidate, a panel of election officials, a crowd of partisan voters. And every single one of them gets to challenge every ballot. How long do you think this is going to take?

Election officials must determine if absentee and provisional ballots qualify for the official count in the race between Republican challenger Mike Pantelides, who leads by 82 votes, and Democrat incumbent Josh Cohen, who has the advantage of his party outnumbering Republicans 2 to 1.

“We want to make sure the will of the people is done and the laws have been followed,” Pantelides said.

In one sense, the race has already been an upset for some Annapolis voters. They’re discontented with high water bills and plans to renovate the beloved City Dock, putting personal preferences ahead of political party, which is why Election Day ended with an 84 vote lead to Pantelides and this cliffhanger for the city.

At this point, it’s not clear how long they will continue Thursday night or when they will get a final count.

Both candidates are optimistic about the outcome.

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