I love it when Delaware lawmakers listen to me. Just kidding, the good Representatives David Bentz and Gerald Brady probably thought of this before I even published anything. Rep. Bentz has introduced an amendment to Rep. Brady’s House Bill 175 that removes the original effective date of January 1, 2022. Therefore, the bill would take effect immediately and would apply to the primary and general elections in 2020.
So now we must get this bill passed as soon as possible, like in the next week. The General Assembly must reconvene remotely via Zoom and pass the bill, and Governor Carney must sign the same day.
Rep. David Bentz: “Delaware is facing an unprecedented situation due to the COVID-19 crisis, and we need to be forward-thinking now about how our lives might be fundamentally changed as a result. One of those areas we have to consider is protecting every Delawarean’s right to vote while making sure they are not putting themselves at risk to contract Coronavirus.
“Fortunately, we already have a bill that would bring vote-by-mail to Delaware. By filing this amendment, we’re making sure we’re prepared to take quick, decisive action if necessary.”
Rep. Gerald Brady: “Voting is one of the most important duties we have as citizens of our state and country. I served our country in the military to protect every person’s rights, including the right to vote. And I believe that we should be doing everything in our power to ensure that as many people have the opportunity to vote. Our world has changed in these past few weeks, and we have to be ready to change with it. It’s critical Delaware is prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to protect our elections and people’s health. Having our vote-by-mail bill in a position to move forward at a moment’s notice is one thing we can do.”
Under HB 175, the state elections commission would administer the vote-by-mail program, creating rules and regulations for the effort. Ballots would be processed and scanned ahead of Election Day but not be tabulated until Election Day. Ballots could be mailed in, dropped off at any polling place on Election Day, or dropped off in a secure drop box at each county elections office before Election Day.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 20 states have provisions allowing for some form of vote-by-mail, while five of the states (Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington) have all-mail elections.
WHERE IS THE BILL? Bill has been released from the House Appropriations Committee 1/28/20
DEMOCRATIC SPONSORS – Brady, Walsh, Lockman, McDowell, Paradee, Sokola, Sturgeon, Bambach, Chukwuocha, Dorsey Walker, Heffernan, Jaques, K.Johnson, Kowalko, Longhurst, Seigfried
REPUBLICAN SPONSORS – None
YES VOTES –
NO VOTES –