Delaware is one of only 15 states that require voters to have an “excuse” to vote by absentee ballot.
Three years ago, the Delaware House passed a constitutional amendment to change that — with an overwhelming, bipartisan vote. The amendment was later passed by the Senate, marking its half-way point to adoption. It still must be passed by two-thirds votes of the current House and Senate to go into effect.
During 2020, temporary COVID provisions allowed all voters in Delaware to vote by mail. But if the pending constitutional amendment is not passed soon, Delaware’s voters are likely to lose this voting option.
Statement of Common Cause Delaware Executive Director Claire Snyder-Hall
Since January 2021, Common Cause Delaware has been calling on all House members to pass HB 75, the second-leg of the process of amending our state constitution so that voters are able to vote from home by absentee ballot without having to provide the government with an “excuse.”
According to a recent article in the Delaware State News, Republican Rep. Bryan Shupe reports that he and some of his Republican colleagues have received a huge number of postcards, emails, and phone calls from constituents, asking them to vote yes on HB 75.
Back in 2019, Rep. Shupe was one of the 38 House members who voted to pass this constitutional amendment.
Nevertheless, according to the News article, Rep. Shupe is now proposing an alternative amendment.
While we are gratified to hear that Rep. Shupe still strongly supports no-excuse absentee voting, switching gears from HB 75 to an alternative bill at this point will require starting the constitutional amendment process from scratch. That means Delawareans will be unable to vote absentee in 2022, unless the General Assembly passes an emergency order to allow it. We are concerned about voter safety because of the continuing COVID pandemic.
We urge Rep. Shupe to rethink his change of heart, and vote to pass HB 75, particularly considering how strongly people in his district are calling for that option.
If he plans to go ahead with his alternative no-excuse absentee voting amendment – we urge him to file it without delay. We also urge him to file companion legislation allowing Delawareans to vote from home in 2022.