What you need to know about Maryland’s mail-in ballot legal battle

The court fight has no immediate impact on when or how voters can cast ballots

Ballots to be reviewed by canvassers for the Montgomery County Board of Elections for the primary election on July 21 in Germantown, Md. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

Just over a month before Election Day, mail-in voting was at the center of a legal battle between Maryland’s State Board of Elections and Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox that would determine how long it takes to finalize results for the general election in November.

The debate between Donald Trump-aligned Cox and the election board concerns an outdated state law that prohibits election officials from counting mail-in ballots until two days after the election.

After a primary cycle plagued by long delays arising from counting a surge of mail-in ballots, the State Board of Elections petitioned a judge to suspend the law, a move that Cox opposed in court on grounds that judicial intervention was unconstitutional and unnecessary.

On Friday, the Maryland Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision to grant the state board’s petition, allowing local election officials to start counting mail-in ballots whenever they’re ready.

Here’s what you need to know:

2022 Maryland Gubernatorial Election: What to know

Races to watch: Wes Moore is projected to become Maryland’s first Black governor. In other historic races, Anthony G. Brown declares victory as Maryland’s first Black attorney, and Aruna Miller will be the state’s first immigrant and first woman of color to serve as lieutenant governor.

Key issues: Maryland’s vote to legalize recreational marijuana is among key issues that residents care about. Here’s what to know about Maryland’s recreational marijuana law.

What’s at stake: Why are midterm elections important? Democrats could dominate all branches of government if they prevail in November, and Republicans hope to keep a seat at the table.