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Grade TL;DR

Over the past two years, Delaware made strides both legislatively and administratively to expand voting rights for its citizens. Due to its passage and implementation of gold-standard automatic voter registration, as well as its attempts to establish same-day voter registration and no-excuse vote-by-mail, Delaware has taken substantial steps towards making the state more voter-friendly. Because of the key voting rights progress the legislature made from 2020, Delaware received an A on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Delaware Started in 2020

  • Automatic Voter Registration: No
  • Online Voter Registration: Open to all Eligible
  • Same-Day Registration: No
  • Restoration of Rights: Some Lifetime Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: Excuse-Only
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: Yes
  • Early Voting Opportunities: Regular Ballot Early Voting
  • ID Requirements: ID Requested, but not Required

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Delaware as of 2020, we considered the state a middle tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2021-22 activity against other middle tier states.

How Our Tier Compares:

  • COVI (2020): 33rd
  • EPI Score (2020): 27th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 5/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): FAIR

2021: Two Years Ago

Legislative Action

The Delaware General Assembly made critical progress towards making its election system more user-friendly and secure by passing automatic voter registration in the state.

  • S 5 establishes back-end automatic voter registration at the DMV. The new AVR system automatically registers qualified applicants to vote and automatically processes name and address updates for existing eligible voters that make those changes during their DMV transaction.

2022: This Past Year

Legislative Action

  • During a surprising late session push, the Assembly passed two important pro-voter policies. Unfortunately, both bills were recently struck down by the Delaware Supreme Court. However, we do not account for this in our scorecard grading.

    • H 25 would have established same-day voter registration by shifting the deadline for voter registration to the close of polls on Election Day.
    • S 320 would have allowed any voter to cast their vote by mail by establishing a no-excuse vote-by-mail system that is separate and distinct from the existing excuse-required absentee voting process. It also expressly authorizes ballot returns by drop box.

Implementation/Administrative Action

  • The Delaware Department of Elections is working to launch automatic voter registration at the DMV, with an implementation deadline of June 2023.