Despite a devastating blow to voting rights in Delaware in the weeks leading up to the General Election, Common Cause Delaware’s Election Protection team remained committed to ensuring every vote counted this election season.
Guest blog post contributed by Claire Snyder-Hall, Executive Director, Common Cause Delaware.

If you voted in-person on Election Day during Delaware’s 2022 Primary and General Election, you might have noticed people in school-bus yellow t-shirts outside of  your local polling place. These individuals were part of Delaware’s first Election Protection (EP) program organized by Common Cause Delaware. The Election Protection program is a volunteer-based, non-partisan team dedicated to upholding every eligible voter’s right to have their voice heard. 

The National Election Protection Program began after the 2000 election, when the Supreme Court's landmark decision, Bush v. Gore, settled a recount dispute in Florida's presidential election. Since then, the program has grown to more than 300 local, state, and national partners working year-round to ensure the equal opportunity to cast a ballot. These volunteers form the first line of defense against confusing voting rules, outdated infrastructure, rampant misinformation, and needless obstacles to the ballot box. 

Delaware’s Election Protection team monitored polling locations in all three counties. They helped voters who were confused by recent changes to polling places and election laws, or who encountered problems while casting their ballots. Although voters across the state reported a number of isolated problems like voter cards listing incorrect polling places, EP volunteers ensured that these issues did not become more serious barriers to the ballot box. When multiple polling places in New Castle County ran out of activation cards during November’s General Election, EP volunteers were quick to notify the Department of Elections and help reassure voters who found themselves waiting in unexpectedly long lines. Furthermore, volunteers identified and reported the widespread lack of accessible parking to the proper authorities, and documented cases of poll worker misconduct,  including some poll workers who failed to offer voters without ID the opportunity to sign an affidavit, and others who allowed partisan biases to show during voter check-in.

The 2022 election season may have been Delaware’s first taste of Election Protection, but it certainly won't be the last. Common Cause Delaware is already looking forward to recruiting and training EP volunteers for the 2024 election. This year’s volunteers reported overwhelmingly positive experiences as they spent their day greeting voters, chatting with volunteers and candidates from both parties, and even running into the Governor! As the Election Protection infrastructure in Delaware continues to grow, Common Cause Delaware is confident that the future of Delaware’s election integrity remains secure. 

EP Volunteers with Gov John Carney

Learn more about Common Cause Delaware here.

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