Delaware House Passes Controversial Corporate Voting Rights Amendment
Today members of the Delaware House passed HS 1 for HB 121, an amendment to the Seaford city charter introduced by state Rep. Daniel Short that will allow artificial entities like corporations, LLCs, and trusts to vote in Seaford’s municipal elections, just like natural persons. The final vote was 35-6.
The passage of this bill follows weeks of controversy surrounding this amendment. The bill was placed on the House agenda and removed three times. House Republican lawmakers walked out on Thursday night, holding hostage the bond bill and grant-in-aid, which funds police, fire companies, and nonprofits, in order to force Democrats to approve the bill.
“We’re horrified and disappointed that this bill passed. Corporations have no place in our elections — full stop,” said Claire Snyder-Hall, executive director of Common Cause Delaware. “In a state with more registered businesses than residents, this bill gives wealthy outsiders the power to override the actual people of Seaford. Hopefully, it will not make it through the Senate.”
In 2019, the Newark city council passed a resolution to stop artificial entities from voting in local elections after a Newark property manager in control of 31 LLCs, which own 31 parcels of land in the city, voted 31 times during a $28 million capital referendum. In 2018, Rehoboth Beach residents rose up to stop a proposal to allow LLCs to vote.
Claire Snyder-Hall is available for interviews on this issue at email@example.com.