General Assembly Vote Tracker

SB10 – No More 16 year olds voting in Special Elections

Back in 2017, during the special election that elected Stephanie Hansen to replace Lt. Governor Bethany Hall Long in the Senate, we discovered a loophole in Delaware election law that allowed those who were 16 years old at the time of the special election to vote, because they would be 18 years old by the time of the next general election in November 2018. Senator Bryan Townsend introduced a bill last year to correct that loophole but it did not get a vote in the House after passing the Senate

Senator Townsend has introduced a new bill, Senate Bill 27, that states that voters must be 18 years old or older on the day of the final stage election, such as a special general election held in an off year. However, people younger than 18 years of age can vote in any preliminary election, such as primary elections, if they will be 18 years of age at the time of the final-stage election.

Where is the bill? Senate Elections, Govt. & Community Affairs 1/15/19

Democratic Sponsors: Townsend, Jaques, Viola, Hansen, Poore, Sokola, Sturgeon, Walsh, Brady, Chukwuocha

Republican Sponsors: Pettyjohn, Cloutier, Delcollo, Hocker, Lawson, Wilson, Briggs King, Gray, Yearick

Yes Votes:

No Votes:

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5 comments on “SB10 – No More 16 year olds voting in Special Elections

  1. Lawd De La Warr

    Remember when John Marino and Greg Lavelle had the audacity to blame this loophole on their 2,000-vote, 17-point loss to Stephanie Hansen? Nice of Senator Townsend and Co. to finally deliver them closure.

    • Delaware Dem

      LOL. Lavelle’s bill to fix this last session was to require all voters be 18 in all elections, which would have banned 17 year olds voting in presidential primaries and primary election if they were going to be 18 in the general election. Townsend’s bill bans the very rare February 2017 special election loophole while preserving the right of 17 year olds voting in primaries.

  2. I have long thought that 16 year olds should be allowed to vote. Other countries do it. The best way to get a politician to recognize and protect the interests of a social group is if that social group is voters. Teenagers get the shaft in many ways and they need political power to have their interests protected.

    • Delaware Dem

      I agree, but I would rather pass a bill or constitutional amendment (which ever is needed to pass it) granting 16 year olds the right to vote rather than having a few of them use a rarely applicable loophole.

  3. It should be noted that not only was Lavelle up in arms about the 16 year olds voting, but he was a sponsor of the bill that enabled it.

    It’s good to be rid of that guy.

    Also, I have no problem at all with people that will be 18 at the next general election to have the right to vote on interim elections, even if that means that they are 16 when they cast their first vote. It doesn’t make much sense to me why Sen. Townsend is introducing this bill.

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