WASHINGTON (7News) — Dan Cox, the Republican nominee for Maryland governor, has filed a notice to appeal a judge's ruling that granted the Maryland State Board of Elections to begin counting mail-in and absentee ballots before Election Day.
On Friday, the board received approval to start counting mail-in ballots on Oct. 1 -- ahead of Election Day.
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In 2020, Maryland counted mail-in ballots before Election Day following an executive order by Gov. Larry Hogan. However, Hogan blocked an effort to make early counting a continuous thing during this legislative session in May. Maryland was the only state which required absentee and mail-in ballots to be counted after Election Day.
Cox has made it known that he was against changing the process.
Cox said having mail-in ballots counted early "creates a disparate and unconstitutional methodology for counting ballots." He said Hogan's executive order that applied to 2020 is no longer in effect and should not be used.
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The Maryland State Board of Elections warned that under current policy, counting won’t be completed until December. They are expecting to receive between 1 and 1.3 million mail-in ballots during the General Election.
Below is the number of vote-by-mail ballots in Maryland in recent years:
A spokesperson for Democratic candidate for governor, Wes Moore released this statement following Cox's move to appeal:
“Dan Cox is continuing his attempted assault on Maryland’s free and fair election system by doubling down on this bogus lawsuit to delay the electoral process. Cox has built a career on attacking elections and their outcomes. This kind of behavior is an attack on democracy and shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Governor’s office. We’ve said it before — Dan Cox just isn’t too into democracy.“
Senator Cheryl Kagan (D-District 17), a sponsor of the original executive order election bill, released this statement following Cox's judicial appeal:
"I am disappointed but not surprised by Dan Cox's desperate effort to appeal Circuit Court Judge Bonifant's thoughtful, well-reasoned ruling to allow the early canvass of mail-in ballots beginning October 1st."
"Like Donald Trump, Cox seeks to raise doubts about the integrity of our election process. Just last month, Cox seemed to have no concerns about the process when he won the Republican Primary Election!"
"SB163 would have allowed for this early canvassing-- but Hogan's unexpected and ill-advised veto created significant problems this summer. The bipartisan State Board of Elections unanimously voted to file an emergency lawsuit. It's vital that the avoidable certification delays we experienced during the Primary not be repeated in November. "