Delawareans will get their chance to vote early starting in 2022, thanks to Governor John Carney signing House Bill 38 into law on June 30th.
Delaware joins more than 35 other states that now offer in-person early voting, allowing residents to cast ballots before Election Day.
Registered voters will be allowed to vote in-person for at least 10 days prior to any general, primary or special election, up to and including the weekend before election day. There will be one in-person voting place in each county and an additional location in the city of Wilmington.
Statewide voter turnout in the 2018 general election was 52%. At the bill’s signing, Governor Carney expressed hope that expanded voting rights will generate higher voter turnout. “We know that in our country and in our state not nearly as many people who ought to vote do actually vote. This bill will do just that – expand voter opportunity,” he said.
The initiative, which takes effect January 1 of 2020, was authored by Representative David Bentz (D-Christiana), who says the legislation will make voting easier and more convenient. He said, “We’re excited to bring a cutting edge, modern practice of elections to our state and bring Delaware up to speed with most of the rest of the country.”
First proposed four years ago, Bentz’ revised 2019 legislation received bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate before making its way to the Governor’s desk.
“This is how elections work now,” said Bentz. “There’s really no reason to narrow the scope (of voting) to just one weekday. This will allow you to plan ahead. You will have 10 days in front of it to go vote. If you have an unpredictable schedule, you don’t have to be at risk of not being able to exercise that fundamental right.”