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Delaware Supreme Court Strikes Down Same-Day Voter Registration, Vote By Mail

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The highest court in the home state of President Joe Biden has delivered a crushing blow to Democrats.

The Delaware Supreme Court has struck down dame-day voter registration and voting by mail, two measures that were passed by the Democrat-dominated state legislature. The justices agreed that the statutes violated the Delaware Constitution.

“The Delaware Supreme Court has issued an opinion that universal mail-in voting and same-day registration violate the constitution. This past summer, the Delaware General Assembly passed a law allowing universal mail-in voting and same-day voter registration. The Public Interest Legal Foundation then filed a lawsuit against the law, alleging that it violated Delaware’s Constitution. In the opinion, the Court states that Article V, Section 4A of the Delaware Constitution only allows for absentee voting in certain enumerated circumstances. In addition, the Court writes that the state constitution establishes a deadline for voter registration,” local news outlet WMDT reported.

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“The Democratic-controlled Delaware General Assembly hurriedly passed the voting-by-mail law this past June after failing to secure enough Republican support to amend the state constitution to enshrine the policy. Lawmakers previously approved a separate voting-by-mail law during the pandemic in 2020, invoking emergency powers that allowed the statute to escape the usual constitutional scrutiny. Republicans across the country, including then-President Donald Trump, were critical of mail-in voting measures enacted at the height of the pandemic and accused election officials of ignoring federal and state constitutions by allowing it,” the outlet added.

Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), which brought the lawsuit, hailed the ruling.

“This was a monumental victory in the election integrity space. This is the first time a state Supreme Court has invalidated an election statute. This law violated the plain text of the Delaware Constitution. Today’s opinion is a victory for the rule of law in elections,” said Adams, a former Department of Justice civil rights attorney.

Ken Blackwell, a PILF board member and former GOP secretary of state for Ohio, noted further that “election integrity should be an issue all Americans can support.”

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“The fact that this might be the first time a state supreme court has struck down a state election law highlights the perilous times we are in, where partisan politicians are willing to cross lines that have never been crossed, willing to seize and keep power at all costs,” Blackwell noted further in a statement.

Reports noted that while absentee voting in the state is legal, there are restrictions. For instance, voters must be unable to actually reach their polling place due to a physical disability or a chronic illness that prevents them from being able to cast a ballot in person.

“The Vote-by-Mail Statute impermissibly expands the categories of absentee voters identified in Article V, Section 4A of the Delaware Constitution. Therefore, the judgment of the Court of Chancery that the Vote-by-Mail Statute violates the Delaware Constitution should be affirmed,” the court wrote.

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“The Same-Day Registration Statute conflicts with the provisions of Article V, Section 4 of the Delaware Constitution. Consequently, the judgment of the Court of Chancery that the Same-Day Registration Statute does not violate the Delaware Constitution should be reversed. The Court enters this abbreviated order in recognition of the impending election scheduled for November 8, 2022, and the Department of Election’s desire to mail ballots to voters by or around October 10, 2022,” the ruling noted further. “A more formal opinion, fully explaining the Court’s views and the reasons supporting our unanimous decision, will issue in due course. The mandate shall issue immediately.”

Sen. Kyle Evans Gay, a Democrat who sponsored legislation in the historically blue state, said he was disappointed in the court’s decision but at least praised the process.

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“I’m disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling but I respect it entirely,” Gay told Delaware LIVE News. “I’m just really thankful that we now have certainty in what we need to do in order to continue to expand voting rights.”

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