Delaware House to Hear Controversial Corporate Voting Rights Bill
Common Cause Delaware is disappointed that the House Administration Committee voted unanimously in favor of HB 121, a bill introduced by state Rep. Daniel Short that would allow artificial entities like corporations, LLCs, and trusts to participate in Seaford’s municipal elections.
“The committee’s decision today is shocking. I have to wonder why these lawmakers would vote in favor of wealthy special interests and outsiders,” said Claire Snyder-Hall, executive director of Common Cause Delaware. “This bill dilutes the votes of Seaford residents and gives corporations the power to kick in the door and dominate our political processes. I urge lawmakers to put a stop to this bill.”
Common Cause Delaware encourages Seaford residents and other concerned Delawareans to contact their representatives right away and urge them to vote NO on HB 121.
Snyder-Hall’s testimony from today’s hearing is available here.
In a state with more registered businesses than people, this is not the first time corporate owners have attempted to interfere with elections. 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.
While HB 121 does not allow Seaford residents who own businesses to vote twice, it does allow non-resident business owners to vote twice – once where they live and a second time in Seaford, where they do not live. Thus, it violates the principle of one person, one vote.
Claire Snyder-Hall is available for interviews on this issue at firstname.lastname@example.org.