Delaware Supreme Court Strikes Down Universal Vote-By-Mail And Same-Day Registration

The Delaware Supreme Court issued an expedited ruling Friday banning no-excuse mail-in voting, the court also negated a new law that would have allowed people to register and vote on the same day.

The court found, according to Fox News, “that the two moves conflict with the registration and absentee voter categories outlined in the First State’s constitution. It upheld a prior ruling by the state’s vice chancellor, which rejected the vote-by-mail law, while overturning his upholding of the Election Day registration law.”

Vice Chancellor Nathan Cook has been consistent in stating that absentee ballots are only permissible, as spelled out in the state constitution when a voter cannot get to his/her polling place for three reasons: public service to the state or nation, business occupation for themselves or their spouse, and illness or injury.

In Delaware, democrats control both the house and senate and they largely voiced their disappointment with the decision while republicans praised the court’s decision.

GOP senators in the state, Gerald Hocker and Brian Pettyjohn, said, “The sponsors and Democrats ignored our concerns, dismissed expert legal testimony, and passed both pieces of legislation anyway. Today, however, the rule of law prevailed.”

House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf (D) and Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst (D), in a statement, called the ruling a “blow to us and all voting rights advocates out there. At a time when voting rights across the nation are under attack, Delaware has repeatedly attempted to be a positive example of how to enfranchise residents and make it easier and more convenient for them to exercise their constitutionally protected right to vote.”

While the state’s constitution is clear when it comes to mail-in ballots, the 2020 election forced temporary changes to voting laws because of COVID. Democrats have since, on many occasions, fought to make those laws permanent while most republicans have pushed to follow the voting laws that were previously on the books.

In the case of the Delaware state constitution, many democrats are now calling for a constitutional amendment.