Maryland Election Officials To Begin Counting Mail-In Ballots Before Election Day

Maryland voters submit their ballots at a drop off location opened during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo by Elvert Barnes via Flickr.

What’s happening?

County elections officials in Maryland could begin counting mail-in ballots as early as Oct. 1, following a judge’s approval of the state Board of Elections’ emergency petition on Friday, Rachel Baye and Kristen Mosbrucker report for WYPR. Maryland is the only state that does not allow mail-in ballots to be counted until days after the polls close on Election Day. 

Why did the Maryland Board of Elections file the petition? 

Due to the high volume of mail-in ballots requested this election cycle, about 524,800, state elections officials were concerned that they would not be able to certify the results of the election until December or January if processing started after Election Day. Though officials will begin counting earlier this year, the results from the mail-in ballots won’t be released until after the end of in-person voting. 

Republican nominee for governor, Dan Cox, challenged the court’s decision in an appeal, and his attorneys argued that the court should have left the decision to the state legislature. Cox did not comment on whether he would accept the results of the election if mail-in ballots were counted early. 

Anything else I should know? 

Earlier this year, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed a proposed law that would have permitted elections officials to process mail-in ballots before Election Day. 

You can read more here.

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