In a bipartisan vote, the Delaware House has passed HS 1 for HB 25, a bill providing for same-day voter registration, including at polling places on Election Day. If it becomes law, this bill would eliminate Delaware’s early registration deadline, which is currently the fourth Saturday prior to the date of the election.
The legislation allows voters to register to vote, or update their name or address, when they go to vote. The deadlines to change party affiliation before primary elections would remain unchanged:
- before a Primary Election: the last Friday in May;
- before a Presidential Primary: 60 days before the Presidential Primary.
The bill now goes to the Senate Elections & Government Affairs Committee for consideration.
Statement by Common Cause Delaware Executive Director Claire-Snyder Hall
Common Cause Delaware rejoices that the House finally passed the same-day registration bill that will allow Delawareans to register to vote and correct mistakes on the voter rolls – even on Election Day.
The bill is important because all eligible voters should have the freedom to vote, unimpeded by early registration deadlines. Even people who do not pay attention until the week before the election or who have recently moved should not be faced with barriers to voting. In fact, the most common reason people use same-day registration in the 21 states that allow it is to update their address, and in Delaware Census data show that 12% of the population moves every year. Passing HS1 for HB25 would advance the goal of universal voter participation.
Same-day registration would remove a barrier to voting that disproportionately affects voters in Black and brown communities, low-income voters, and young voters. People who work multiple jobs or have less autonomy at work, those dealing with health issues, or the demands of parenting young children, or any other number of things, could all benefit from same-day registration. No Delawarean should be denied the freedom to vote because they missed an arbitrary and pointless early deadline to register.
Finally, we know from the experiences of other states that implementing same-day registration would not be burdensome or costly. In fact, some states have found that the process is easier to manage than accepting and verifying paper provisional ballots.
We encourage the Senate to quickly pass this bill so it can be signed into law.