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Politics

Dan Cox says he will oppose step to count mail-in ballots earlier

Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox, who helped spread President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread election fraud in 2020, is criticizing Maryland officials’ legal action that would allow local election workers to count mail-in ballots earlier with the goal of reducing delays in releasing the results.

Mail-in ballots, which have become increasingly popular since the pandemic began, can only be opened beginning two days after Election Day under current Maryland law.

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After a third of last month’s primary ballots were sent by mail and led to lengthy delays in calling some races, the four-member Maryland State Board of Elections voted unanimously last week to file a petition in a Circuit Court that would allow workers to process those ballots before Election Day. The results would not be released until after polls close on Election Day.

Cox, a lawyer and first-term delegate from Frederick County, said in a statement he would “oppose” the state’s injunction but stopped short of saying he would get involved in the court process. His campaign spokesperson did not return an immediate request for comment on whether he would attempt to get formally involved.

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In the statement, Cox raised concerns about results being released before the end of voting.

“Ensuring no early tallying of votes as they arrive for a month before Election Day protects the integrity of the vote while it is in progress – keeping it completely secret until the close of all polls – and protects the election itself for all parties and candidates, whether Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters alike,” Cox said.

The idea of moving up the mail-in ballot canvassing timeline has been popular among members of both parties.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan “strongly supports” the board of election’s decision, his spokesman said this week.

And Democrat Wes Moore, who is facing Cox in the race to replace Hogan this year, said in an interview with reporters Friday that the ballots should be counted “as soon as they can.” He said there was no basis for Cox to cast doubts on the process.

“This takes place everywhere else around the country, and it is done in a safe and transparent fashion,” Moore said. “Maryland would be no different.”


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