The Delaware Republican Party on Tuesday filed a lawsuit to stop the state Department of Elections from using mail-in ballots.
“The statute is unconstitutional and unnecessary,” said party chairwoman Jane Brady, a former state attorney general and Superior Court judge.
It’s also being poorly implemented, she said.
Asked about the lawsuit Wednesday during Gov. John Carney’s weekly COVID-19 press conference, Delaware Elections director Anthony Albence said he knew about the suit, but couldn’t comment on the litigation. Gov. John Carney’s office said the governor did not have any additional comment.
The issue of mail-in voting has become partisan. Democrats say it enables everyone to vote, no matter their health. Republicans say it’s fraught with issues that could lead to fraud or deprive someone of their vote, and that it’s unnecessary because people can vote absentee.
The Republicans announced their suit the day after Delaware’s Congressional delegation and Attorney General Kathy Jennings held a press conference about changes in the U.S. Postal Service. Those changes could have affected mail-in voting, in addition to delaying mail that includes checks and medicines.
Jennings announced Delaware was joining other AGs around the country to file suit against the postal service, saying the changes it’s making were depriving people of their right to vote. U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester said the U.S. House is returning to work Saturday to vote on a new act that would demand the post office continue to operate as it did in January.
Their press conference was somewhat undermined when U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy issued a press release moments before the press conference started. The release said the post office was committed to making sure mail-in-ballots were handled in a timely manner and that no cost-cutting measures would be implemented until after the election.
The Republican lawsuit filed in the Court of Chancery focuses on House Bill 346, which sailed through the state House and state Senate, both of which are dominated by Democrats. In the Senate, six Republicans voted for it.
The law violates Delaware’s Constitution, which provides that a voter must vote in person or, for limited reasons, by absentee ballot, Brady said.
The state already has sent mail-in ballots out to registered Republicans and Democrats to vote in the Sept. 15 primary. Only registered party members can vote in it. They have been warned to mail their ballots back at least a week before the election day to avoid mail delays.
Anyone worried about their health should vote absentee, Brady said.
“The absentee ballot system in Delaware has been in effect for decades and there have been no instances of fraud or cause for concern about the integrity of any election,” Brady said.
Vote by mail, she said, has a terrible history of fraud in states that use it.
“Delaware need not experience the corruption associated with that fraud,” she said. “Everyone who is entitled to vote should have their vote count equally, not be diluted by fraud.”
She said the Delaware Department of Elections has sent vote by mail applications to individuals who no longer live at the address it’s mailed to.
“Further, a mechanical glitch recently caused people to get an envelope properly addressed to them … that had an application for a ballot with another person’s name already printed on it,” Brady said.
She also said 3,000 voters were disenfranchised in the presidential primary, for which the state mailed absentee ballots to voters.
“Republican and Democrat, if that same percentage of votes is rejected in the general election, there will be many more thousands of voters who thought they voted, but their votes did not count,” Brady said.
Delaware has a history of doing things right, Brady said.
“That includes allowing anyone who has a health concern about voting in person to vote absentee,” she said. “We should continue that tradition and follow the law and the Constitution and eliminate vote by mail.”