Maryland Board of Elections files emergency petition to allow earlier mail-in ballot count

Expand The Ballot, Expand The Vote

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Members of the Maryland State Board of Elections have voted to file an emergency petition in circuit court to seek approval to canvas mail-in ballots prior to Election Day.

The petition will also require that any results from any pre-Election Day canvassing be withheld until the polls close on Election Day. All four members of the SBE voted in support of the motion.

With the state’s experience in the primary election and the expected and continued expansion of mail-in balloting, the inability of the local boards of elections to canvass mail-in ballots before Election Day could leave local, state, and even federal contests without certified results until late December 2022 or early January 2023.

Maryland is currently the only state in the union that forbids any kind of processing of mail-in ballots until after Election Day.

SBE will file the petition in a circuit court with sufficient time for the court to consider the request and for the local boards of elections to plan for pre-Election Day canvassing. We’re told SBE carries the burden of proving to the court that emergency circumstances that interfere with the electoral process require a remedy that is in the public interest and protects the integrity of the electoral process. If that showing is made, the court has the authority to grant any action deemed necessary. If not, the petition is denied.

Categories: Local News, Local Politics, Maryland, MD Election