Delaware Senate to vote today on bipartisan bill that eliminates barriers to voting

In an era of hyperpartisanship, Delaware legislators are working across the aisle to fix a system that requires most voters to register twice, to be able to vote in municipal elections. 

The Senate is scheduled to debate and vote on the bill, Senate Bill 233, during its meeting that starts at 2pm today. Livestream of the meeting will be available here.

Of the 57 municipalities in Delaware, only 17 use the state’s Voter Registration System to determine eligibility to vote in local elections. Residents of other municipalities must register separately with the municipality before voting in a local election.

SB 233 would require all municipalities to use the state’s system as its source of registration information for resident voters. Separate municipal voter registration requirements would still apply to nonresident voters, as those voters would not be included in the State’s Voter Registration System.

The original version of the bill, HB 146, was introduced in the House by Republican Bryan Shupe. The Senate version being considered this week was introduced by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Lockman.

Statement of Common Cause Delaware Executive Director Claire Snyder-Hall

Common Cause Delaware strongly supports this bill, and we applaud legislators working across the aisle to eliminate barriers to voting. 

We are glad to see this bill moving forward with bipartisan support – just as automatic voter registration was passed last year with bipartisan support.

Any reasonable person would expect that being registered to vote with the state of Delaware would also qualify them to vote in their own town’s election. But in more than 40 municipalities, voters must separately register a second time to be able to vote in local elections.

It’s long past time to fix this, and ensure that all Delaware voters are able to have their voices heard in municipal elections, regardless of the zipcode.

Read testimony of Common Cause Delaware here.