Delaware Voting Rights Coalition

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Who we are

We are Delaware's first statewide coalition of voting rights organizations and advocates. Under the umbrella of the Delaware Voting Rights Coalition, we are advocates encouraging voters and policymakers to consider reforms that will improve access to voting. We empower communities, especially communities of color, people who speak English as a second language, people involved in the justice system, and young people, to identify and remedy barriers to the ballot box. We are ready to work with legislators, local election officials, and the Department of Elections to make these reform recommendations a reality.


Coalition partners


What we support

We want to ensure that everyone who has the right to vote can exercise that right in a meaningful, transparent, safe, and secure manner. We support reforms that broaden access for all eligible voters to register and cast their ballots. Specifically, we support reforms that: 

  • Extend the voter registration deadline through election day
  • Ensure that all registered voters are able to cast a mail ballot 
    • Make ballots widely accessible and easily returnable in each Delaware House District
    • Create a reliable process for a voter easily to track their ballot cast by mail and to correct any ballot rejection
  • Educate all eligible voters about the option to cast a mail or early vote ballot
    • All voter information should be available in multiple languages

Get involved

Sign up for DVRC email updates

Pledge to vote in the 2022 primary and general elections

Become an election protection volunteer

Please note: the above link will take you to a third-party website, protectthevote.net.

Our priorities 

One thing is at the very core of our democracy: choice. Voters should have options on how we get to exercise that democratic choice.

Our coalition believes that implementing the recommendations below will strengthen our democracy and allow every eligible voter a convenient way to engage in the voting process.

Coalition priorities

Same-day registration

Delaware should make same-day registration available at all polling places, including early-voting locations, with only the same proof of residency required of voters who register in advance.

Same-day registration (SDR) eliminates the need for advance registration by permitting an eligible voter to register and cast a ballot at the same time on Election Day or during an early voting period. By combining registration and voting, same-day registration streamlines the voting process, eases the burden on voters, and increases voter participation.

Delaware currently makes voters register 25 days before an election, one of the longest deadlines allowed by federal law.  It’s past time to modernize Delaware’s voter registration system and remove unnecessary barriers to voting. Currently, 21 other states permit some form of same-day registration. 

States with SDR experience, on average, a 5-percent increase in voter participation and consistently have the highest participation in the country; for Delaware, this could mean an additional 22,259 voters. 

SDR Increases access of historically underrepresented groups: 

  • Those who are transient and need to update their address more frequently 
  • Students and other young people
  • Low-income voters
  • People involved in the penal system
  • Infrequent voters
  • First-time voters

Talking Points


Legislation

House Bill 25: Same Day Voter Registration

Same-Day Registration (SDR) eliminates the need for advance registration by allowing eligible voters to register and cast a ballot at the same time on Election Day or during an early voting period.

Voting by mail

Our coalition supports a vote-by-mail ballot framework that is clear and accessible for all Delaware voters. The coalition supports making vote-by-mail ballots a permanent voting method available to all Delawareans. During the 2020 election, over a half-million Delawareans voted — many by absentee and mail ballots because they were granted temporary eligibility to vote by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 34 other states have permanent universal vote-by-mail eligibility.  

The benefits to vote-by-mail are plentiful:

  • Allows voters to take time to study the issues and candidates on their ballot and get questions answered
  • Decreases the number of people voting in-person at polling locations, potentially avoiding long lines and wait times on Election Day
  • Lowers costs due to needing fewer staff and traditional polling places 
  • Maximizes the chance that elections may endure despite whatever unexpected threat emerges, including, but not limited to, another pandemic

Once available, the Delaware Department of Elections should aggressively educate all eligible and registered voters about how to cast vote-by-mail ballots and make applications widely available, easily returnable, and correctable. The Coalition recommends:

  • Prepaid postage on returnable envelopes to return vote-by-mail applications and ballots 
  • Secure drop-boxes widely available in each of Delaware’s House Districts 
  • Phone and online voter-assistance hotlines in the predominant languages spoken in Delaware
  • A formal process to notify any voter before their mail ballot is rejected so that they are provided the opportunity to correct any errors in a timely manner.

Talking Points


Legislation

SB 320: Voting by Mail

SB 320 will allow registered voters to request a mail ballot before the election that may be returned either by mail or at a designated drop-off location.