Early Voting 1

Early voting underway in Delaware’s primary election

Charles MegginsonGovernment, Headlines

Early Voting at Claymont Community Center Delaware primary election

Early voting is underway at the Claymont Community Center, one of 13 locations throughout the state. (Charlie Megginson/Delaware LIVE)

Even though Delaware’s primary election isn’t until Sept. 13, about 773 Delawareans have already cast their vote at one of the state’s 13 early voting locations.

The 2022 primary is the first full-scale election to allow early voting. The state allowed early voting once before during the 4th Representative District special election in March.

House Bill 38, which authorized the practice, was signed by the governor in 2019 but did not take effect until Jan. 1, 2022. The bipartisan bill passed 34 to 6 in the House of Representatives and 16 to 5 in the Senate.

The voting method is being challenged in the Delaware Court of Chancery but remains in effect despite the lawsuit.

Under the new law, voters may cast their ballot at any early voting site in their county at least 10 days prior to primary, general and special elections. Early voting is available up to and including the Sunday before Election Day.

Inside the polling place, voters are able to cast their ballot using regular voting machines.

Early voting at Wilmington Riverfront Delaware

There’s plenty of parking available at the Shipyard Shops early voting location on Wilmington’s Riverfront. (Charlie Megginson/Delaware LIVE)

As of about 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1, 773 primary election voters have taken advantage of the opportunity to vote early, according to Cathleen Hartsky-Carter, community relations officer with the Delaware Department of Elections.

“Early Voting works very much like Election Day,” she said. “A voter enters the Early Voting Site, shows ID, signs the pollbook and votes on the machine.”

Sussex County voters are leading in early voting voter turnout statewide with 410 total votes cast since early voting began Wednesday.

The early voting site with the highest voter turnout in Sussex is the Lewes Fire Department Station #2, according to the Hartsky-Carter.

In Kent County, a total of 166 voters have voted early with most votes being cast at the Kent County Department of Elections Office.

In New Castle County, a total of 197  voters have cast their ballots early. The Claymont Community Center has seen the greatest number of voters so far.

Hartsky-Carter said that while Delaware voters rarely experience significant wait times, early voters have reported to the Department of Elections during the last two days that they appreciate the convenience and ease of early voting and the more personalized service election officers at early voting sites have been able to provide to them.

She said the Department of Elections didn’t have difficulty finding people to staff the polling locations but is always looking for more people to sign up to become paid election officials. For more information about working at the polls, click here.

The department doesn’t yet have information on how many voters have taken advantage of the state’s new same-day voter registration law at early voting locations. Hartsky-Carter said one Kent County early voting site serviced a same-day registrant.

Doris Young, Kent County’s election director, reported that the process of having the eligible individual complete the same-day voter registration application, provide ID, and have their identity verified by the Department of Elections “flowed very efficiently,” according to Hartsky-Carter.

She said there haven’t been any kinks with the rollout of the new voting method.

The department “has been planning and preparing for implementation of Early Voting diligently over the past two years,” she said, adding that she believes “all the preparation and hard work led to a very smooth first day of Primary Election Early Voting yesterday.”

More information about early voting can be found here.

Early voting locations

Hours of operation for early voting sites include:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 31: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 1: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Friday, Sept. 2: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 3: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 6: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 7: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 8: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Friday, Sept. 9: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 10: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Sept. 11: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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