Lawyers for the Maryland State Board of Elections and Del. Dan Cox, the Republican nominee for governor, made arguments Tuesday before a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge on a petition allowing for early counting of mail-in ballots in the General Election. The issue is the enormous number of paper ballots requested by those who are living both in and out of state, a year after paper ballots were issued because of the pandemic. The thought was that crowded polling places could spread the Covid19 virus.
State officials say waiting to count mail-in votes until after the election — now the law — could push election results for some races into December. Cox and his attorneys argued that a large number of mail-in ballots was not unexpected and does not constitute an emergency. A court order would violate the Maryland constitution and the separation of powers between the judicial and legislative branches of government, they maintained.
The idea is to count all paper ballots submitted to the board of elections on October 30th. Results wouldn't be released until after Election Day, which is November 8.
During the primary, paper ballots, including those submitted in a drop-box-were not counted until almost 2 months after the primary. This author got a text message from the Board of Elections, which I opted-in to receive when I went online to request the paper ballot. I was subsequently informed when they received my ballot and when it was officially counted. There is an electronic code on the outside of the envelope that elections officials scan that allows them to see my contact information options.