By Kate Ryan
Maryland Del. Dan Cox, the Republican candidate for governor, has filed a motion to block a move to allow mail-in ballots to be counted before Election Day.
Under current Maryland law, mail-in ballots cannot be canvassed until two days after Election Day.
The Maryland State Board of Elections has said that without the ability to begin the process of canvassing mail-in ballots before Election Day, certifying the results of the November general election could take until December or even early January.
After the July primary, the large number of mail-in ballots resulted in some counties being unable to certify the election results for weeks.
Voting by mail grew in popularity after the expansion of its use in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“There is no emergency. There are no more excuses for not following the law,” Cox said in a news release Thursday.
More than 345,000 Maryland voters chose to vote by mail in the July 2022 primary. That’s more than 10 times the number of voters who used mail-in ballots four years before.
“The Board of Elections asking the courts to change the rules of election weeks prior to the election being held is unacceptable,” Cox said in a campaign news release.
Earlier this month, the State Board of Elections filed an emergency petition in Montgomery County Circuit Court asking a judge to set new deadlines for the general election that would allow local boards of elections to begin processing mail ballots on Oct. 1. A hearing is anticipated next week.
Cox, who’s been described as a “Q-Anon whack job” by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, called then-Vice President Mike Pence a “traitor” for refusing to help overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Asked for comment regarding Cox’s motion, a spokesperson for the Maryland State Board of Elections said the board doesn’t comment on “pending legal matters.”
As part of Maryland Matters’ content sharing agreement with WTOP, we feature this article from Kate Ryan. Click here for the WTOP News website. Danielle E. Gaines contributed to this report.