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Responsive Gov’s Grade TL;DR

Delaware continued to build on its efforts to expand voting rights this past session. The General Assembly made one minor, but important, change to allow ballot preprocessing and the Department of Elections implemented Secure AVR, which is already showing significant increases in registration rates. The Assembly also took the first important step of a multi-year process to revise felony disenfranchisement restrictions in the state constitution, but failed to pass the amendment out of either chamber this year. Because of that, Delaware received a B+ on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Delaware Started at the Beginning of 2023

  • Automatic Voter Registration: Secure AVR
  • 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 2022, we considered the state a middle tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2023 activity against other middle tier states.

How Our Tier Compares

  • COVI (2022): 18th
  • EPI Score (2020): 27th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 5/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): FAIR

2023: This Past Year

Legislative Action

After passing several pro-voter policies the past few years, the legislature made an additional improvement this past session and began the multi-year process to restore voting rights to all individuals upon completion of a felony sentence.

  • H 148 allows election officials to begin preprocessing mail ballots as soon as they are received starting 30 days before the election. This is a significant improvement as current law only allows preprocessing to begin the Friday before the election.
  • H 82 requires the Department of Elections to send biennial mailers to all registered voters informing them of their polling place, the election dates, the deadline to change party affiliation, and the procedures for voting at the polls on Election Day and during the early voting period. Any mailers that come back to the Department as undeliverable will trigger the standard address confirmation notice process.
  • SB 180 which would restore voting rights for all individuals that have completed a term of incarceration for a felony conviction was introduced and reported favorably out of committee. This is the first step in a multi-year process to amend the state constitution.

Implementation Action

  • The Delaware Department of Elections launched secure automatic voter registration at the DMV this past June. Based on our review of the state’s implementation and initial data, the Department of Elections and DMV have incorporated best practices and launched an effective and secure system. Initial data indicates the state’s voter registration rates at the DMV have increased 30%.