Delaware Supreme Court Reinstates Permanent Absentee and Early Voting, ACLU Pushes for Constitutional Support

Dover, Delaware — The Delaware Supreme Court recently resurrected both permanent absentee voting and early voting on account of a narrowly focused legal aspect, leaving broader constitutional questions about these electoral processes unanswered. Though the court did not delve into whether the laws align with Delaware’s constitution, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Delaware views the reinstatement of these voting options as a win for voter accessibility in the upcoming elections.

Andrew Bernstein, ACLU of Delaware’s Cozen Voting Rights Fellow, expressed mixed feelings about the court’s oversight. “While it’s disheartening that the court sidestepped the constitutionality of these measures, we are geared up to ensure that voters are aware of their reinstated options,” Bernstein stated. Key efforts will include updates to the Vote Delaware website, a critical resource for state voters.

In collaboration with the Delaware Voting Rights Coalition, the ACLU plans to intensify its voter education campaign as election season approaches. These partnerships aim to spread awareness about the reinstated voting options and encourage broad participation.

Despite recent legislative disappointments where an amendment to embed no-excuse absentee and permanent absentee voting, along with early voting, directly into the state constitution failed, Bernstein remains hopeful. “Our agenda continues to be filled with potential reforms, mixing new proposals with past initiatives that did not pass muster either in legislature or the courts,” he explained.

The ACLU is particularly focused on reviving a legislative amendment from the previous year that sought to eliminate felony disenfranchisement, aiming to reform voting rights comprehensively.

Residents of Delaware interested in accessing permanent absentee ballots may qualify under several conditions, such as living overseas, serving in the military, or dealing with a disability. Those experiencing temporary illness or absenteeism due to vacation, however, can only apply for a one-time absentee ballot.

The Delaware Department of Elections has made the requisite information for early voting public, which precedes the state-wide primary election set for September 10, 2024. Voters can begin casting their ballots as early as August 28, leveraging the early voting period to participate in the electoral process conveniently.

With these developments, Delaware continues to iron out its approach to voting laws, ensuring its citizens possess the necessary tools and information to exercise their voting rights effectively. The ongoing dialogue and efforts by organizations like the ACLU underscore the state’s commitment to refining electoral accessibility and integrity.