Vote Tracker

Senate Passes Same Day Voter Registration

The Delaware Senate on Wednesday passed legislation along party lines to allow same-day voter registration in Delaware, which will permit eligible state residents to register to vote on the same day they cast their ballots.  Democrats voted yes because they want to make voting easier as it is a fundamental right for all Americans. Republicans voted no because they oppose democracy and are currently trying to install a fascist authoritarian regime through a coup.

Sponsored by Rep. Sherry Dorsey Walker and Sen. Trey ParadeeHouse Bill 25S would eliminate the current deadline on voter registration that is currently set for “the fourth Saturday prior to the date of the election.”  Under the bill, an eligible Delaware resident who has not previously registered to vote by Election Day could still register and cast a ballot as long as they can show a valid and current government-issued photo identification card or current document displaying their name and address, such as a utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck. 

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, same-day registration has existed in Maine, Minnesota and Wisconsin since the mid-1970s. Since then, more than 20 states and the District of Columbia have adopted same-day registration, and several other states are contemplating similar laws. 

A study of the 2018 elections found that seven of the top 10 states with the highest turnout offered same-day voter registration. Voter turnout in states with same-day registration was seven percentage points higher than states without the option. 

HB 25S now heads to Governor John Carney for his signature. 

House Bill 25S SponsorsYes VotesNo Votes
Dorsey Walker, Minor-Brown, Morrison, Wilson-Anton, Baumbach, Bentz, Kowalko, Lambert, Mitchell, Osienski, K.WilliamsHouse Passes 24-13-4. Baumbach Bennett Bentz Bolden Freel Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Mitchell Morrison Osienski Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton YearickBush Briggs King Collins D.Short Dukes Gray Morris Postles Ramone Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende . Absent: Hensley M.Smith Minor-Brown S.Moore
Paradee, Walsh, S.McBrideSenate Passes 14-7. Brown Ennis Gay Hansen Lockman Mantzavinos Paradee Pinkney Poore S.McBride Sokola Sturgeon Townsend WalshBonini Hocker Lawson Lopez Pettyjohn Richardson Wilson
Current Status: Sent to the Governor

“Working families have enough to keep track of without having to remember an arbitrary voter registration deadline weeks before Election Day,” said Sen. Paradee. “We have worked hard to make voting as easy as possible for our neighbors, including the creation of an automatic voter registration system at the DMV and the addition of early voting 10 days before an election. I want to thank my colleagues in the General Assembly for also voting to remove the archaic voter registration deadline.” 

“Delaware has operated under an outdated system that sets an arbitrary deadline several weeks before an election to register to vote, which disenfranchises potential voters. Upon missing this deadline, they are unable to cast ballots, even if they meet all other eligibility requirements,” said Rep. Dorsey Walker, the bill’s lead sponsor. “Election Day registration has existed in several states for decades and is proven to safely and effectively increase voter turnout. I am proud to see Delaware take this critical step forward in removing voting barriers and enfranchising our constituents.” 

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

3 comments on “Senate Passes Same Day Voter Registration

  1. Newark Dem

    I haven’t been following this closely enough, but have they changed any of the restrictions around those convicted of certain felonies being able to register to vote? If those restrictions have not been modified, election workers will not have the ability to verify eligibility on site. Is this opening some of those individuals who may honestly not know they are not eligible to vote to undeserved penalties if it comes up later that they voted but were not eligible? Is it opening election workers to penalties if they register someone they don’t know is ineligible for those reasons? I support easier voter registration, but don’t want to set up a system where people end up with additional charges/punishments for unintentional mistakes.

  2. Delaware Dem

    From the Department of Elections: Election Officers would request the documentation needed to accompany a new registration, but would contact the Department of Elections to process new registrations. Department staff would undertake the procedures needed to process these applications, and this process would not be the responsibility of the Election Officers.

    • Newark Dem

      Glad to hear it – thanks for checking into this for more information.

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