Absentee And Provisional Ballots To Determine DC Council Winner

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Vincent Orange (R) attends the BET Honors 2012 Pre-Honors dinner at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. (credit: Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Vincent Orange (R) attends the BET Honors 2012 Pre-Honors dinner at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. (credit: Kris Connor/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Several thousand absentee and provisional ballots could affect the outcome of a close Democratic primary race for an at-large D.C. Council seat.

Incumbent Vincent Orange leads challenger Sekou Biddle by 543 votes. He has not claimed victory, and Biddle has not conceded.

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics says 3,348 Democrats requested absentee ballots. So far, 1,554 have been returned. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday.

The board will also consider 3,867 provisional ballots. Elections officials are reviewing those to determine which are eligible to be counted.

All absentee and eligible provisional ballots will be counted and added to the unofficial election results on April 13. The results will be certified on April 18. A margin of less than 1 percent would trigger an automatic recount.

Some District voters said Orange’s links to a corruption scandal involving political donor Jeffrey Thompson swayed their votes.

“The platforms are largely indistinguishable,” one voter said of the two candidates. “The tipping point is the prospect of corruption.”

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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