The letter below opposing the potential amendment to Section 10 of the Dewey Beach Charter, which would allow artificial entities including LLCs, LLPs, and corporations to vote, was sent to the Dewey Beach Town Council on Thursday, June 20. 

Choosing to allow these entities the right to vote is choosing to dilute the power of the people, a clear disregard for the fundamental right on which our civil liberties rest.

Download the letter

Members of the Dewey Beach Town Council include:

  • Mayor William Stevens
  • Commissioner Paul Bauer
  • Commissioner Elisabeth Gibbings
  • Commissioner David Jasinski
  • Commissioner Gary Persinger

This letter was written by ACLU-DE Cozen Voting Rights Fellow, Andrew Bernstein.

Dear Commissioners, 

My name is Andrew Bernstein, and I am the Cozen Voting Rights Fellow at the ACLU of Delaware (“ACLU-DE”). ACLU-DE opposes the potential amendment to Section 10 of the Dewey Beach Charter which would allow artificial entities, including LLCs, LLPs, and corporations to vote. 

Allowing LLCs, LLPs, and corporations to vote offends basic notions of democracy. The U.S. Supreme Court outlined the principle of “one person, one vote,” to advance an ideal of equal representation and say in our government. In an affirmation of our country’s values, the Court stated that “an individual’s right to vote ... is unconstitutionally impaired when its weight is in substantial fashion diluted.” Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 568 (1964). Allowing artificial entity voting undermines the right to vote in a similar fashion by giving greater voting power to those who control artificial business entities and diluting the voting power of average citizens. 

According to the 2022 Delaware Division of Corporations Annual Report, there are over 1.9 million legal entities incorporated in Delaware. As of June 1st, there are only 775,973 registered voters in Delaware, so natural person registered voters are outnumbered by potential corporate entity voters by close to 3-1. ACLU-DE is concerned that Dewey’s receptiveness to artificial entity voting will spur other towns to consider this harmful change and lead to mass voter-dilution across the state. 

ACLU-DE therefore encourages the Commissioners of Dewey Beach to reject the proposal to amend Section 10 of the Dewey Beach Charter to allow for artificial entity voting.  

Andrew Bernstein
Cozen Voting Rights Fellow, American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware