CHAPTER 5 - GENERAL ELECTIONS ABSENTEE VOTING

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 118 OF VOLUME 44, LAWS OF DELAWARE, ENTITLED "AN ACT TO PERMIT VOTING BY PERSONS NOT PRESENT AT THE POLLING PLACES, UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES AND CONDITIONS".

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:

Section 1. That Section 2 of Chapter 118 of Volume 44, Laws of Delaware, be and the same is hereby amended by repealing and striking out all of Section 2 thereof and by enacting and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Section 2. Any such elector, not less than three days prior to any general election, or, if request is made in person, not later than during the regular office hours of the days prior to any such general election, may make request of the Clerk of the Peace of the Count, in which the election district of such elector is located, for an official ballot to be voted at such election.

Such request, if made prior to three days before a general election, may be made by anyone on behalf of any such elector, and if such request shall be made to any other official of this State, it shall be immediately transmitted to the Clerk of the Peace of the county in which the election district of such elector is located, and the Clerk of the Peace of that county shall act upon such as a request made directly to him.

Section 2. That Section 4 of Chapter 118, Volume 44, Laws of Delaware, be and the same is hereby amended by repealing and striking out all of Section 4 thereof and by enacting and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

Section 4. Upon receipt of such a request from a duly registered elector, the said Clerk of the Peace, not more than sixty nor less than three days prior to a general election and within three days after the ballots, envelopes and instructions to absentee voters become available, as provided by the General Election Law, as amended, shall mail to the elector, postage prepaid, an official ballot for the proper representative district in which the said elector is a resident and in which he is duly registered, or such officer shall deliver such a ballot to the elector personally, not more than thirty nor less than one secular day before said election, accompanied by a voucher envelope, a carrier envelope self-addressed to said Clerk of the Peace and a copy of "Instructions to Absentee Voter", as hereinafter provided.

Section 3. That immediately after Section 19 thereof there shall be enacted and added a new paragraph to be known as Section 19. A. thereof, as follows:

Section 19. A. Any affidavit required under the provisions of this Chapter, when made by an elector in the armed forces or Merchant Marine of the United States, or by persons serving with the American Red Cross, the Society of Friends, the Women Air Force Service Pilots, and the United Service Organizations who are attached to and serving with the armed forces of the United States, may be taken before any commissioned or noncommissioned officer not below the rank of sergeant, or petty officer, in the armed forces of the United States, or any member of the Merchant Marine of the United States properly designated for such purpose, or any other person authorized to administer and attest oaths or affirmations, and whenever taken outside the State of Delaware, the authority of such person shall be conclusively presumed.

Section 4. That Chapter 118 of 44 Laws of Delaware be and the same is hereby amended and supplemented by enacting and adding thereto immediately after Section 22 thereof two new sections to be known as Sections 23 and 24 thereof, as follows:

Section 23. In order to expedite and afford the opportunity to cast a vote for all candidates in nomination at the ensuing. general election by such qualified and registered voters temporarily outside the territorial limits of the several States of the United States and the District of Columbia, and who are members of the armed forces or of the Merchant Marine of the United States, or persons serving with the American Red Cross, the Society of Friends, the Women Air Force Service Pilots and the United Service Organizations attached to and serving with the armed forces of the United States, if, on or before the first day of September in the year of a general election, in the joint judgment of the Governor, Secretary of State and the Attorney General of this State, it is deemed expedient to make certain changes in the size, weight or material of the ballots, envelopes, instructions to absentee voters, form of request for ballot, form of affidavit of elector, the address or any other direction or printing or endorsement upon the voucher or carrier envelopes, postage or manner of transmission, then such officers jointly are hereby authorized and directed to make and cause to be made effective any or all such changes to the end that there shall be extended to any such elector full opportunity to receive and return a marked ballot to the poll of his residence on election day to be acted upon and counted as other votes personally cast at such poll; provided, however, that the plan and arrangement of any official ballot and the list of candidates thereon, as provided for by the General Election Law, shall not be changed or altered under any circumstances.

Upon the making of any such changes, by the said Governor, Secretary of State and the Attorney General, they shall jointly in writing forthwith notify the Clerk of the Peace of each county of such changes, and each such Clerk of the Peace shall cause such changes to be carried into effect, and the ballots, envelopes and instructions, as so changed, to be so printed, transmitted and distributed.

Such changes shall be uniform for absentee voting throughout the State, but shall apply only to absentee voting by such electors as specified in the first paragraph of this Section who are outside of the territorial limits of the several States of the United States and the District of Columbia; otherwise and for absentee voting by electors within the territorial limits of the said several States and the District of Columbia, the provisions of Sections 1 to 21 inclusive of this Chapter only shall apply.

Section 24. If any request for an absentee ballot and accompanying envelopes or any marked ballot of any such elector shall be addressed to and returned to the Secretary of State of this State, or to. any official other than the Clerk of the Peace of the county of residence of the absentee elector, then said Secretary of State, or other official, shall immediately transmit such request or returned marked ballot to the Clerk of the Peace of the county of residence of such elector, to be acted upon by said Clerk of the Peace as provided by this Chapter.

Approved March 24, 1944.