Delaware’s Presidential Primary on April 28 is staying put

According to the News Journal, Delaware’s Democratic Presidential Primary scheduled for April 28th is so far proceeding ahead as scheduled.

“We’re continuing to monitor the situation at this point and plan to proceed as scheduled,” said Delaware Elections Commissioner Anthony Albence. Albence said he, as Commissioner, doesn’t have the legal authority to cancel or postpone an election. That authority rests with Governor John Carney, who would only exercise it under guidance from the CDC and the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH).

Carney spokesman Jonathan Starkey: “We’re planning to allow voting to move forward, until the guidance from our health experts makes clear that we cannot hold an election due to public health risk.”

Albence says that his department will be following CDC protocols in making sure that polling places, polling books and votings are cleaned and disinfected prior to the election, and will follow CDC protocols during polling hours.

The very first bill that must be taken up upon the return of the General Assembly is House Bill 175 (Voting By Mail). It must be amended so that it takes affect immediately, and then it must be passed by a unanimous majority of both Houses and signed a nanosecond later by Governor Carney.

Absentee voting is a little more complicated in our state, due to the fact that the state Constitution places restrictions on who can vote absentee. House Bill 73, a constitutional amendment that removes those absentee ballot restrictions from the Delaware Constitution, passed both Houses earlier this session and, according to our state’s constitutional amendment procedure, the bill must be brought up again in 2021 after a new General Assembly has been convened to be passed again by both Houses by the required majorities. So passing a No-Excuse Absentee bill (which was considered in prior sessions of the General Assembly but not this year) cannot be passed until we amend the Constitution first.

I do wonder if the Governor or the Commissioner of Elections have emergency powers during a national and state health emergency that will enable them to mail out primary and general election ballots to all registered voters no matter if HB175 is passed in time. The Governor’s and Commissioner’s staffs should look into it.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

19 comments on “Delaware’s Presidential Primary on April 28 is staying put

  1. Justadude

    April 28 is a long time from now. I see no reason to cancel yet. I’m very very nervous about vote by mail. Let’s all chill a bit

    • Yes, why deny Joe his triumph? We should all risk our health to celebrate him!

      • Faithful Skeptic

        You just can’t help yourself, can you?

        • It’s foolish to hold a primary when 1) we already know he’ll win it and 2) he’s already got the nomination sewn up.

          I’ll vote for him, but I’m not gonna kiss his ass.

          • Faithful Skeptic

            Not asking you to kiss his ass, just that you quit dumping on the guy and do something positive.

            • Wasn’t dumping on him, I was dumping on the Delaware political establishment that will threaten our health to kiss his ass.

              Do something positive? Like what? He’s got Delaware in the bag. And I never, ever would tell someone who they should vote for. YMMV.

              I’m a Democrat so I can vote in the primary. That’s it. I owe them nothing.

              • BTW, you’re aware, I think, that the April primary is only for president, and that it costs over $1 million to conduct.

                Why don’t you explain why we should hold it?

                • cassandram

                  We hold it because there are people still on the Primary ballot vying for a nomination. For the Ds, Sanders is still in and the the Rs, de la Roque (YES I KNOW) is still in. I expect that it would be a legal mess to just award any delegates by acclamation at this point.

  2. meatball

    Why are you nervous about vote by mail?

  3. Indiana, whose primary is a week after Delaware’s, has postponed theirs until June.

    We could do the same. Or we could adopt vote-by-mail. We could do a lot of things, but holding a primary at a time when the virus is expected to peak in our state. (See the New York Times article showing state-by-state and county-by-county projections under three different management plans. Under moderate measures, which is all Delaware has adopted, the peak is expected around May 1, with 100,000 cases in New Castle County.)

    • NYTimes opened the paywall for COVID19 coverage. Please provide a link to the county by county projections.

    • Faithful Skeptic

      What bothers me about your “Joe has it in the bag, why bother with an election” attitude is that it’s a slippery slope. “Saving” $1 million savings (already budgeted, by the way) becomes an great excuse to just cancel the elections, not doing anything until … whenever. Personally I’m for mail-in balloting. Costly, awful organizationally, but better than not having the elections. MMHV.

      • Trouble with the slippery slope argument is that it can be used for anything, but I take your point.

        I would go for vote for mail, too, especially if they would loosen the early-voting system as well.

        Budgeted money does not have to be spent.

  4. Nancy Willing

    Shelter in place order today is through May 15th so tell us this is supposed to work again, Starkey?

    • mediawatch

      Like Noah’s Ark — enter the polling places two by two

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