State Roundup: Fate Of Early Vote Counting In Judge’s Hands; Cox Says Legislature Should Decide, Throws Doubt On Whether He Will Accept Election Outcome

ELECTIONS OFFICIALS, COX LAY OUT ARGUMENTS OVER EARLY VOTE COUNT: Lawyers for state elections officials and gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox argued in court Tuesday over whether mailed ballots should be processed and counted as they come in for the general election, rather than after the polls close. Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Banner.

  • The legal action, filed by the Maryland State Board of Elections, hopes to avoid delays in results similar to those experienced during the July primary as officials counted a deluge of mail-in ballots that have become commonplace since the coronavirus pandemic. Emily Opilo/The Baltimore Sun.
  • Assistant Attorney General Daniel Kobrin told a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge that Maryland voters are expected to cast a record number of mail-in ballots in the upcoming gubernatorial election. Forcing local elections boards to let them pile up — rather than deal with them as they arrive — would delay the final vote count for several weeks. Bruce DePuyt/Maryland Matters.
  • Cox and his attorneys argued that the 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. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record.
  • Cox’s lawyers argued the separation of powers as outlined in the state constitution should not permit the judicial branch to make decisions about elections. They said these decisions should be left up to the General Assembly as the legislative branch, and the court should not be able to grant the Board of Elections’ request. Rather, Cox’s counsel argued, this should be an issue discussed in legislative session. Ginny Bixby/Bethesda Beat.

COX CASTS DOUBT ON ACCEPTING OUTCOME OF ELECTION: Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox is raising doubts about whether he will accept the results of November’s election. That may hinge on whether election workers begin canvassing mail-in ballots before Election Day, Cox suggested Monday afternoon. Rachel Baye/WYPR-FM.

  • Cox told reporters on Monday that he would respect the outcome of the election if the current process stayed in place but would not say whether he would contest the results if the judge changed the timeline — a question he again did not answer on Tuesday. Karina Elwood/The Washington Post.

LEGAL RECREATIONAL POT ON THE BALLOT: Marylanders will decide on the ballot whether to legalize marijuana through a constitutional provision, in an initiative with broad societal implications. Those in law enforcement and public health would be at the forefront of instituting a change, and they weighed in on the question. Dwight Weingarten/The Herald Mail.

SNAP HELPED THOUSANDS DURING PANDEMIC; CASELOADS, FRAUD HURT SYSTEM: Maryland Department of Human Services officials said they had largely met challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic posed on the SNAP benefits program to provide financial food aid, but acknowledged that the overwhelming caseload occasionally led to system breakdowns. They also said that the problems with SNAP were not unique to Maryland and that the department has emerged from the pandemic stronger and smarter. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

SEN. ECKARDT LOSES RUNOFF FOR CAMBRIDGE MAYOR: State Sen. Adelaide Eckardt, a political fixture on the Eastern Shore and in Annapolis for decades, lost a runoff to become mayor of Cambridge on Tuesday — two months after losing her reelection bid in the Republican primary. She was defeated by former Cambridge Commissioner Stephen Rideout. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

ARUNDEL NAMES POLICE BOARD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: The Anne Arundel County Council unanimously confirmed Janssen Evelyn as executive director of the county’s newly formed Police Accountability Board Monday night. Dana Munro/The Capital Gazette.

IG REPORT: RAT MUMMY AMONG FINDS AT B’MORE HEALTH CLINIC: Symbolic of the neglect at a Baltimore city-run health clinic, a rat found dead in December 2020 remained undisturbed and mummified in a follow-up site visit 18 months later, Baltimore’s Inspector General noted in a new report issued. Staff visited the clinic on July 14 in response to an anonymous complaint and a June inspection by the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration that found the lack of ready access to safety needles, and Sharps Disposal Containers not properly mounted to the wall. Mark Reutter/Baltimore Brew.

DAVID HARRINGTON, FORMER ELECTED OFFICIAL, DIES AT 68: David Harrington, a former mayor, county official and state senator who later became a business community advocate, died Monday at the age of 68. Harrington had served as Bladensburg’s mayor (1995 to 2002), a member of the Prince George’s County Council (2002 to 2008) and a state senator (2008 to 2011). He had begun a new job in April as senior director of community relations and stakeholder development at Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic Region. William Ford/Maryland Matters.