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.