Vote pou Pwoteje ak elaji

 Dwa Vòt nan 2024

The fight for democracy remains as critical as ever. Currently, early in-person and permanent absentee voting are at risk because they are not explicitly enshrined in our constitution. Additionally, Delaware is 1 of only 10 states in the country that permanently disenfranchises its returning citizens, if the states that only permanently disenfranchise for election-related offenses are removed.

Opponents of democracy lodged a successful lawsuit against Delaware’s same-day registration and no-excuse vote by mail laws in 2022. And previous efforts to expand voting rights through constitutional amendments have stalled out due to divisiveness on voting rights issues that intensified following the 2020 presidential election and sparked baseless, partisan efforts to sow doubts about election integrity.

This election season, we must elect those who will work to broaden ballot access and allow all eligible Delawareans the ability to exercise their right to vote in a meaningful, safe, and secure manner. Our right to vote–the cornerstone of our democracy–must be protected.

Platfòm Dwa Vòt nou an

Aprann plis sou sa pou w konsidere lè w ap voye yon bilten pou dwa vòt.

Protect and Expand Early and Permanent Absentee Voting

The Delaware Supreme Court recently upheld Delaware’s early in-person and permanent absentee voting laws, but the laws remain vulnerable to future legal challenges. The benefits of early voting include decreased Election Day stress for election officials, shorter lines, improved poll worker performance, fewer errors and voting system glitches, and increased voter accessibility and turnout. The option to vote early allows for more flexibility, especially among communities of color, low-income voters, and voters whose work or life schedule may make it difficult to vote at the polls on Election Day.

Permanent absentee voting allows certain voters who have difficulty going to the polls and applying for absentee ballots to only apply once, rather than every election. This allows those
who serve our country overseas, disabled voters, and others the confidence that they can participate in our democracy without having to navigate requirements that are particularly onerous for them.

Research shows that offering extra days of early voting generally increases voter turnout, with early voting potentially producing as many as 56,000 new voters in Delaware’s elections. Delaware also had about 21,000 permanent absentee voters in the last election.

We must support candidates who are ready to champion early in-person and permanent absentee voting amendments which protect and expand these methods of voting. Expansions like an extended time frame for early in-person voting (including evenings and weekends) and more early in-person voting polling sites across the state are needed for Delaware to expand voting access. Delawareans deserve accessibility and convenience when exercising their right to vote. Strengthening early in-person and permanent absentee voting programs is a step in the right direction.

Mete fen ak dezabilite krim epi pèmèt votè ki nan prizon ki kalifye yo vote.

Voting is a right—not a privilege. Voting restrictions fall particularly hard on systems-involved individuals. Due to racial bias in the criminal legal system, felony disenfranchisement laws disproportionately affect Black and brown people, who often fè fas ak santans pi sevè pase moun blan pou menm ofans yo. Criminal legal disenfranchisement laws have a direct connection to Jim Crow laws that were promoted after the Civil War, which sought to deny Black Americans the right to vote.

The expansion of the franchise can lead to safer communities. Studies have shown that the likelihood of recidivism drops when formerly incarcerated people can participate in the democratic process. Voting allows people to remain connected to their communities while incarcerated and helps facilitate the re-entry process.

As of 2022, felony disenfranchisement affected 7,721 voters in Delaware. 52% were Black and 56% were no longer incarcerated. Delaware is among only 12 states which permanently disenfranchise at least some individuals with felony convictions, meaning that these citizens cannot have their rights restored even after they serve their sentence. Delaware must join nearly half of the states that allow people on probation and parole to vote — ak Lè sa a, konsidere rantre nan ran yo nan Maine ak Vermont ki pèmèt tout moun yo vote, kèlkeswa kontak yo ak sistèm legal la.

Even eligible voters in the legal system struggle to cast their ballot. Those who are held in pretrial detention, a population of over 1,000 people, and those convicted of misdemeanors do
not legally lose their voting rights, but still encounter insurmountable barriers when trying to cast their ballot.

Barriers like navigating the prison mail system, understanding eligibility and deadlines, and obtaining support from legislators all play a role in making it more difficult for eligible incarcerated voters to cast their ballot. Officials must enact reforms such as allowing poll locations at state prisons and mandating that the Department of Elections and Department of Correction maintain and offer automatic voter registration and ballot delivery to eligible voters.

We need elected officials who prioritize policies that actively work to dismantle barriers to prison voting, and who support expanding voting eligibility to citizens with felony convictions. We must ensure that our policy makers and elected officials understand the importance of maintaining and fostering this connection, and the role that access to the ballot plays in encouraging civic participation and engagement.

No-Excuse Absentee Voting and Same-Day Voter Registration

Registration deadlines tend to be one of the nation’s largest sources of disenfranchisement because many people like college students, renters, and low-income people do not always have the time, knowledge, or resources to finalize their registration weeks before the election. 2/3 of states either have same-day-registration or a more voter-friendly registration deadline than Delaware’s 24-day deadline. Many elections in the state suffer from low voter turnout, but that could be improved—merely passing same-day registration would allow for over 22,000 new voters to cast their ballots.

When Delawareans had access to no-excuse vote by mail in 2020 and 2022, tens of thousands used this option to cast their ballot early, taking the pressure off election officials and making Election Day voting smoother. Expanding voting options beyond in person voting on Election Day makes it easier for people with inflexible work schedules, childcare duties, or unreliable transportation to ensure they can cast their ballot.

We need elected officials who support the passage of a constitutional amendment that allows vote-by-mail and same-day registration.