More than half of all registered voters in Delaware voted in the 2018 mid-terms, and the turnout will predictably be higher in 2020 (when both President Trump and DE Governor John Carney will be on the ballot). “But some say the state’s voting laws are actually keeping eligible voters from participating in state and federal elections.” And “after multiple failed attempts in recent years,” Democratic legislators “now believe they are just weeks away from enacting a trio of reforms designed to remove some of these hurdles, as they see it.”
Rep. David Bentz (D-Christiana) is the prime sponsor of an “early voting” bill (House Bill 38) for Delaware. Currently, DE is “one of only a dozen [states] that still requires the vast majority of voters to visit the polls on election day.”
Another bill would make Delaware the 18th state to permit same day registration.
A third would consolidate federal and state primaries on the fourth Tuesday in April so voters would be able to vote once. Stephanie Bolden (D-Wilmington East) is the prime sponsor in this case, and has argued that doing whatever we can to improve the electoral process should trump perceived inconvenience to some incumbent candidates (who would rather focus on legislative business while the General Assembly is in session).
“Dozen of states have been moving in a similar direction,” notably New York approved “a package of election reforms on Monday that included early voting, same-day registration and a consolidated primary.” And Governor John Carney has come out (see 1/8/19 column) in favor of voting reforms.
Does anyone have a different view? “In the past,” Republicans have argued that early voting would require a DE constitutional amendment – proponents deny this – and “also have raised concerns that same-day registration could lead to longer lines at the polls.”
If Republicans hope to stop these proposals, they need to offer better arguments. For example, it’s true that early voting is spreading in other states – but it has also been causing a raft of problems that the First State doesn’t need. Our electoral system is faltering, 12/10/18.