WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Dan Cox, Maryland’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, is opposing state election officials who are seeking court action to speed up the counting of mail-in ballots that could lead to more delays past the November election.

The Maryland State Board of Elections voted last Monday to file an emergency petition in “a circuit court to seek approval to canvass mail-in ballots prior to Election Day,” officials said in a statement. That petition will also require that any results from any pre-Election Day canvassing be withheld until the polls close. The four members of the board voted to support the move.

But Cox contended in a news release that “although the delay in certifying elections by waiting to tally votes until after Election Day is argued by the board as burdensome, it is in fact a protection against gaging results of candidate votes prior to the day of voting while polls remain open.”

The GOP candidate who has questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, supported former President Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories that the race was stolen from him and has even supported the impeachment of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

“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.

He called any change by court order “unconstitutional” because he said that under the U.S. and Maryland constitutions only state legislatures can legally alter election law.

“Restoring election integrity and voter confidence in our elections is one of my top priorities,” he added.

Election officials in Maryland have been hampered and heavily criticized for long delays in certifying primary results, especially in the Montgomery County executive’s contest which is now undergoing a formal recount.

Hogan earlier this year vetoed a bill that would have changed Maryland law that currently prohibits mail-in ballots from being counted until two days after Election Day. That has created widespread criticism for the governor as some July 19 primary election results took weeks to get certified.

Cox, who is currently a Maryland delegate, will face Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore, an Army veteran, businessman and best-selling author.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the state of Maryland has been flooded with mail-in ballots as a way for people to vote as an alternative to casting a ballot in person.