A week — maybe a month. That’s how long it could take to find out the end result of Utah’s nail-biting primary season finale in the 2nd Congressional District.

The race to decide Rep. Celeste Maloy’s fate in Congress remained up in the air on Monday as updated vote totals continued to eat away at the congresswoman’s narrow lead over her opponent, Colby Jenkins, and inched the race closer to a potential recount.

An update of just under 400 ballots from Sevier County on Monday morning left the margin separating the candidates unchanged, with 197 votes each going to both Maloy and Jenkins despite Maloy leading in previous ballot counts from the county.

Another small ballot drop from Tooele County boosted Jenkins by nearly 30 votes, narrowing the margin between the two candidates from 382 to 354, before a 4 p.m. update of nearly 150 ballots from Washington County brought Jenkins to within 309 votes of the incumbent.

Maloy, who led Jenkins 50.15% to 49.85% as of 5 p.m. on Monday, is fighting for reelection to her first full term after winning November’s special election propelled by Washington County support.

Now, the outcome of her second primary test will likely depend on the hundreds of “challenged” ballots waiting to be remedied by 2nd District Republican voters who may have put a signature that does not match the one county election offices have on record or may have marked their ballots unclearly.

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The majority of these outstanding ballots waiting to be “cured” by voters are in Washington and Davis counties, with some in Salt Lake County and dozens more scattered throughout the district’s 13 counties.

Maloy’s campaign manager, Marty Carpenter, said the race could be called soon by The Associated Press “if the margin remains outside the recount territory” or if the margin doesn’t shrink with future vote updates.

While Jenkins would consider a recount a temporary “win” that could potentially tip the tight election his way, his campaign has no intention to fight the results once every vote is counted.

“Once all the ballots are counted and we have a really good idea of where things are at, we’ll follow the math,” said Greg Powers, the general consultant on Jenkins’ campaign. “If it’s not in our favor, we’ll concede, and we’d expect her to do the same thing if the math wasn’t in her favor.”

How many ballots are left in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District?

Nearly 106,500 votes have been counted in the GOP primary election for Utah’s 2nd District— which includes western Salt Lake County, much of central Utah and nearly all of western Utah. According to state code, Jenkins would need to narrow the gap between him and Maloy to less than .25% of the total votes cast — down to roughly 270 votes — before he could request a recount.

Most of the remaining unprocessed ballots in the race are on cure lists. County election offices have reached out to the voters associated with these ballots through call, text or mail to give them the opportunity to provide a proper signature or resolve any other problems with the ballot, which can include clarifying their “intent” if the marks on their ballot are unclear.

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County election canvasses on July 8 and July 9 serve as hard deadlines for counties to process their remaining ballots and for voters to reach out to election offices to remedy their ballots. During a canvass, a board of county canvassers provides an independent analysis of county election results.

Before undergoing their canvass meetings to finalize their election results, Garfield, Iron, Juab, Kane, Sevier and Wayne counties will process a total of nearly 300 votes, they confirmed with the Deseret News. These counties have an additional combined total of more than 180 ballots on their cure lists.

Salt Lake County has 1,825 votes in process but only a small minority of those are in the 2nd District, county clerk Lannie Chapman told the Deseret News. The county also has more than 1,684 challenged ballots that have not been cured. Again, only a small portion of these fall within 2nd District boundaries.

Will there be a recount in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District?

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At the end of last week, 62% of late breaking returns in Washington County were coming in for Jenkins, his campaign said. But he needed to win closer to 65% of remaining ballots to be on a trajectory to call for a recount. Updated vote totals across 2nd District counties on Friday and Monday have either exceeded that ratio or been better for Jenkins than past returns from those counties.

Most counties will provide their final update on Wednesday or Friday before their canvass early next week. Iron and Tooele counties will give voters until Monday to remedy their ballots.

Because it is a multicounty election, the 2nd Congressional District race will undergo a statewide canvass on July 22 by the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office. A candidate must file a request for a recount no later than seven days after the statewide canvass, according to state code.

The lieutenant governor must conduct a full recount of the race no later than 10 days after the statewide canvass. A recount includes recounting all ballots cast in a race and reexamining all uncounted ballots to ensure they were rightly discarded.

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