Vote Tracker

Senate Passes No-Excuse Absentee Voting Amendment

The Delaware Senate on Thursday passed the first leg of a Constitutional amendment that would eliminate limitations on the circumstances in which voters may cast an absentee ballot.  The vote was on party lines, 15-5-1, all Democrats voting yes and all Repubicans voting no or not voting. They really do hate democracy and voting, don’t they?

Senate Bill 3 would remove the limited circumstances under which the Delaware Constitution currently permits absentee voting, and allow the General Assembly to set new rules and procedures through future legislation, the only path to no-excuse absentee voting permissible under the 2022 Delaware Supreme Court case Albence v. Higgin

SB 3 also would make clear that all absentee ballots must be accompanied by an oath or affirmation that the qualified voter is free from improper influence, as required by under Article V, Section 3 of the Delaware Constitution. 

Nearly 70% of eligible voters in the United States live in a state with no-excuse absentee voting, and Delaware is currently one of the only Mid-Atlantic states that require an excuse to vote absentee. New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C. all offer their voters a safe and secure non-excuse absentee ballot option.   

Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority in each chamber of the Legislature and must pass in identical forms in consecutive General Assemblies to become law. No signature from the governor is required. 

SB 3 now heads to the House for consideration. 

Senate Bill 3 – Vote by Mail AmendmentCurrrent Status – Senate Executive 3/9/23
House SponsorsMoore, Baumbach, Bolden, Heffernan, Morrison, WilliamsSenate SponsorsBrown, Hansen, Sturgeon, Gay, Hoffner, Huxtable, Mantzavinos, Paradee, Sokola, Townsend, Walsh
House Yes VotesSenate Yes Votes Brown Gay Hansen Hoffner Huxtable Lockman Mantzavinos McBride Paradee Pinkney Poore Sokola Sturgeon Townsend Walsh
House No VotesSenate No VotesBuckson Hocker Pettyjohn Richardon Wilson
House Absents or Not VotingSenate Absent or Not VotingLawson

“Voting rights have long been central to the civil rights movement in this nation because it is only through equal access to the ballot that voters can secure their basic human rights and protect their freedoms,” said Senator Darius Brown, prime sponsor of Senate Bill 3 and chair of the Senate Elections & Government Affairs Committee. 

“Yet today, one of the three voting methods allowed here in Delaware is available only to a few, and only under a handful of narrow circumstances,” he said. “Senate Bill 3 represents the first step toward lifting those restrictions and finally giving all Delaware voters the same right to a no-excuse absentee ballot that voters in 35 red and blue states across the country already enjoy.” 

“I teach my students that voting is one of the most fundamental, important functions of a healthy democracy, and that everyone who is eligible should have the opportunity to vote for their leaders,” said Rep. Sherae’a “Rae” Moore, SB 3’s lead House sponsor and a sixth-grade teacher. “If we truly believe that, then improving voter access should be a top priority for us. We have a lot of working Delawareans – especially in my community – and sometimes, getting to the polls in person can be extremely difficult. They deserve every opportunity to participate in our elections. That’s why I’m proud to co-sponsor this bill.” 

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

2 comments on “Senate Passes No-Excuse Absentee Voting Amendment

  1. When the courts struck down no excuse absentee voting did they also strike down same-day voter registration? Also since this bill needs 2/3 majority in each chamber, Democrats won’t be able pass it in the House. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, but I’m just being realistic, we couldn’t get a single Republican legislator to vote for it last time, let alone the fact that for this to pass it would need 2 Republicans in the House to vote with the Democrats.

  2. cassandram

    Senator Buckson should have recused himself from this vote, as he is on record advocating for illegal secession in Delaware.

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