ROCKVILLE, Md. (DC News Now) — A Montgomery County judge ruled Friday that county election boards across Maryland can begin counting mail-in ballots for November elections beginning on Oct. 1 to get ahead of the laborious work that counting mail-in ballots can entail.

The decision paved the way for the Maryland Board of Elections to avoid a situation similar to the one this summer in which ballot counting dragged a month past the primary.

In the ruling, Circuit Court Judge James Bonifant soundly rejected the argument of Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox who wanted the request for early counting of mail-in ballots to be denied based on constitutional grounds.

Bonifant said that the “mandatory deadlines will be missed” across the state due to the phalanx of mail-in ballots “if the court takes no action.”

“This court does not believe it is violating the state Constitution,” Bonifant read from the bench.

Cox’s lawyers, who filed a request to reject the election board’s request, were present only by Zoom. Cox, himself, did not attend the hearing.

The assistant attorney general who argued the case declined to comment.