Late Friday, February 23, 2024, Delaware’s Superior Court ruled that Delaware’s early voting and permanent absentee voting laws violate the state Constitution. As of Tuesday, February 27 the Attorney General committed to appeal this ruling and support legislative efforts to pass constitutional amendments expanding and enshrining voting rights.  

The impact of this ruling will not affect the April 2 presidential primary. We will continue to monitor this ongoing litigation and ensure that Delaware voters are aware of the methods of voting available to them for the 2024 General Election.  

The statement below is attributable to the Delaware Voting Rights Coalition (DVRC):  

We firmly believe that access to the ballot is a critical part of democracy and are deeply concerned with the potential impact of this ongoing litigation. This new lawsuit and ruling is not the first instance of anti-voter litigation in Delaware, and if left unchallenged, would have the effect of suppressing significant numbers of Delaware voters.  

Attorney General Kathleen Jennings recently indicated that 56,000 Delawareans used early voting and about 21,000 used permanent absentee ballots in the last election. Delaware is now one of four states without early in-person voting, joining Alabama, Mississippi, and New Hampshire. 

Removing the longstanding permanent absentee option for voting has the potential to disenfranchise a large portion of the state’s population, from those who are disabled or in long-term care to those service members who reside abroad defending our nation’s freedoms. Requesting these ballots every year will be an extremely daunting task. 

We are in support and grateful for the state’s announcement to appeal this decision and will continue our public education efforts to ensure that voters understand all the options available to them as they head to the polls. 

While it is our position that our state’s constitution does not preclude the means of voting targeted in the lawsuit, it is clear that partisan interests will continue to find ways to challenge laws that expand access to the ballot. Delaware needs to lower the barriers to voting with options that can work with voters’ lives. Therefore, it is necessary for a constitutional amendment to expand voting rights and put an end to anti-voter attacks. 

We, the Delaware Voting Rights Coalition, support the ACLU of Delaware’s plan for a long-term constitutional amendment campaign as the best way to expand democracy and ensure ALL Delawareans the right to vote.