Media Contact

Casira Copes
Communications Director

June 13, 2024

DOVER, DE — Today, June 13, the Delaware House of Representatives failed to pass Senate Bill 3 with House Amendment 2 (SB 3 w/ HA 2), the first leg of an amendment to Delaware’s constitution which would allow for no-excuse absentee voting, protect ‘permanent absentee voters’ ability to receive absentee ballots without having to reapply each election cycle, and ensure early in-person voting in future elections. 

“The ACLU of Delaware is not backing down from these critical and necessary reforms,” said Andrew Bernstein, Cozen Voting Rights Fellow at ACLU-DE. “Two-thirds of states already offer no-excuse absentee voting and only three other states in the country do not offer early in-person voting options: Alabama, Mississippi, and New Hampshire – states with long histories of disenfranchising voters. “Delaware has become a tragic outlier in our nation when it comes to protecting and expanding access to the ballot,” Bernstein continued, “That’s why we recently launched our Every Vote Counts campaign, a multi-year effort to amend Delaware’s constitution, bring our state into the 21st century, and ensure Delaware becomes a beacon of democracy and strong voter engagement.”  

Many voting rights advocates also consider this a missed opportunity to address critical election accessibility issues. “Permanent absentee voting and early voting options are particularly important for groups like people with disabilities, young people, and communities of color who have long been historically underrepresented in election participation,” said Dwayne Bensing, ACLU-DE legal director. “If our elections are not accessible, the integrity of our democracy is compromised. Protecting the right to receive an absentee ballot and ensuring early voting allows voters who face substantial barriers to in-person and Election Day voting an equal opportunity to exercise their fundamental right to vote." 

The ACLU of Delaware is disappointed that the General Assembly did not choose to adopt this expansive framework for both absentee and early voting but encourages all Delaware voters to learn more about where the candidates running in their districts stand on critical voting rights issues before casting their ballots during the upcoming 2024 election season. “Our lawmakers hold great power when it comes to making decisions about our state’s voter protections – but the real power is ours,” said Bernstein, “Make no mistake, democracy will win in Delaware. And, when democracy wins, everyone wins.” 

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