Election official: Mail ballot "as early as you can" (Sarah Gamard)

The election official quoted was DE Elections Commission Anthony Albence. Speaking during a briefing with Gov. John Carney, Albence offered the following advice for Delawareans who are voting in the 2020 general elections: “Return your application and subsequently your ballot as early as you can. The sooner the better, can’t stress that enough.”

This sounds like obvious overstatement. Voting a week before the election should do the trick and would enable voters to cast their mail-in ballots based on reasonably current information.

A US Postal Service letter was cited advising that USPS deliveries cannot be adjusted “to accommodate the requirements of state election law,” so absentee voters in the general election needed to receive and mail their ballots at least a week before Election Day. Delaware requires that all ballots be in the possession of election officials by 8:00 PM on Election Day in order for the votes to count.

The governor chimed in that “we want to make it easier for people to exercise their right to vote, and to do it safely. Don’t make the decision not to vote because you’re afraid of going to a polling place and catching the virus, particularly if you’re in that vulnerable population.”

Voters who have received mail-in ballots (after requesting same) can later decide to vote in person, according to this story, but in order to do so they must “go to their assigned polling place” and ask poll workers to “contact the county’s elections office and void the mail-in ballot so that they can vote in person. The voter can’t vote in person if their mail-in ballot was already returned.”

Voters concerned about mail delays can alternatively drop off their mail-in ballots at their country elections offices.

The briefing was scheduled in reaction to announcement of a lawsuit by the Delaware Republican Party to block the universal mail-in legislation (scroll down to next story). The lawsuit applies for the general election, but not the primary voting. Albence declined to comment on the lawsuit.
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