Recently a Maryland judge ruled that mail-in ballots can be counted before Election Day. During the primary election, results in some contested races such as Delegate in Districts 23 & 24 and Senate in District 26 were not known for weeks after the election due to a unique law that prevents early counting of ballots. Judge Bonifant of the Montgomery County Circuit Court ruled to suspend this law, in anticipation of a large wave of vote by mail ballots during the general election. The State Board of Elections expects at least 1,000,000 votes, possibly over 1.3 million, to be cast in the general election.
Lawyers for Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox argued against this ruling in court and sought an appeal to deny early vote counting. He and his team argued that changing the process weeks before the election was “unconstitutional and would undermine public trust in elections and political institutions”. Cox said to reporters that he would respect the election outcome under the current process of ballot counting after the primary, but did not provide an answer about if he would respect the election outcome following Judge Bonfiant’s ruling. The Court of Special Appeals denied his appeal on September 29th.
Early voting in Maryland will be from October 27th through November 3rd, and Election Day will be November 8th. In order to receive a vote-by-mail ballot, voters can fill out this link. According to the Board of Elections, mail-in ballots will be sent out approximately 40 days before Election Day.