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 October 10, 2022

Vote-by-mail and same-day registration laws struck down by Delaware Supreme Court

The Delaware Supreme Court invalidated new regulations governing same-day voter registration and vote-by-mail on Friday.

According to The Washington Examiner, the court overturned the provisions that state Democrats had hoped would increase voter turnout in time for the November elections.

The ruling was made after justices heard arguments in the case that focused on whether the state constitution would permit all registered voters to submit their ballots by mail and whether provisions within the state constitution would permit people to register to vote on Election Day.

The state constitution's categories for absentee voters "impermissibly expands the categories of absentee voters identified" according to the state's highest court.

In a three-page opinion, the justices stated that the same-day registration law is in violation with the constitutionally mandated registration periods. The next step will be a more formal opinion, according to the Associated Press.

The state constitution states that the registration period for a general election cannot start more than 120 days or fewer than 60 days prior to the election. Additionally, it cannot expire less than ten days or more than twenty days prior to an election.

"I am very pleased the court recognized that the language of the constitution really matters," said Jane Brady, Delaware's Republican Party chairwoman and former attorney general. "This is a win for the rule of law."

According to the state constitution, those who have physical limitations, are ill, are on vacation, or have a conflict for religious reasons and are unable to cast their ballots in person on Election Day may do so by voting absentee. Those who must assist individuals in those situations are likewise exempt from casting a ballot in person.

"Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's decision reinforces that our previous efforts to amend Delaware's constitution for voting is more important now than ever," House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst said in a prepared statement.

Delaware had intended to mail ballots to voters on October 10, but that has since been postponed, and as of Oct. 15, citizens must register to vote, according to the Delaware News Journal.

Written By:
Charlotte Tyler

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