CHAPTER 147 - DEPARTMENT OF ELECTIONS--NEW CASTLE COUNTY

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 57 OF THE REVISED CODE OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, 1935, AS AMENDED, ENTILED, "DEPARTMENT OF ELECTIONS FOR NEW CASTLE COUNTY".

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

Section 1. That 1746. Sec. 2. Chapter 57 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, as amended, be and the same is hereby further amended by repealing all after the first paragraph of the said Section and inserting three new paragraphs in lieu thereof as follows:

No person shall be eligible to appointment as a member of the said Department of Elections, who is not a citizen of the United States of America and a resident of New Castle County, and who has not resided in said County for a term of five years next preceding his appointment. No member of the Department shall hold a State or County elective office during his membership in the Department.

When any vacancy occurs in said Department from any cause, other than expiration of a term, the Governor shall fill the vacancy by appointment for the residue of the term, provided, that each of the two principal political parties shall at all times be represented by at least two members of the Department. Each member of the said Department shall, before entering upon his duties, and within one month from the time of his appointment, take and subscribe and file in the office of the Clerk of the Peace of New Castle County, the oath or affirmation prescribed by the Constitution. Commencing on the fourth Monday in April A. D. 1945, and biennially thereafter, the members of the Department of Elections for New Castle County shall meet and organize the said Department by electing one of their members to. be President of the Department, and they shall at the same time elect a Secretary. The terms of office of the President and Secretary shall be two years from the date of such organization. Five members shall be sufficient for the purpose of organization, and shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The said Department shall have power to make rules for its government, not inconsistent with the Constitution and Laws of this State.

Each member of the Department of Elections for New Castle County, shall receive as compensation for his services, a salary of Seven Hundred and Fifty Dollars per annum. The salary of the Secretary shall be fixed by the Department and shall be not less than Three Thousand Dollars per annum. The salaries of the members of the Department and the Secretary thereof shall be paid by the Levy Court of New Castle County in the same manner as County officers are paid; provided, however, in every year in which a Municipal Election is held in the City of Wilmington, the salaries of the members and the Secretary shall be paid in the same manner as by law provided for the payment of salaries of officers of the City of Wilmington.

Section 2. That 1747. Sec. 3. Chapter 57 of the Revised Code of the State of Delaware, 1935, be and the same is hereby repealed and a new Section substituted in lieu thereof as follows:

1747. Sec. 3. Office; Supplies and Equipment; How Furnished; How Paid:--The Public Building Commission for the City of Wilmington and New Castle County shall provide suitable and convenient office space in the Public Building in the City of Wilmington for the use and occupancy of the Department of Elections for New Castle County. The Department shall secure all necessary furniture, equipment and supplies for the said office and to properly carry out the provisions of this Act. The Levy Court of New Castle County shall pay for such furniture, equipment, supplies and other necessary expenses of the Department upon proper vouchers, signed by the President and Secretary of the said Department.

Section 4. That 1751. Sec. 7. Chapter 57 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, be and the same is hereby repealed and a new Section substituted in lieu thereof as follows:

1751. Sec. 7. May Engage Other Assistants; Duties; Compensation, Expense, How Paid:--That the Department may employ such assistants as in the judgment of the members of the Department shall be deemed necessary for the performance by the Department of the duties by this Chapter or any laws of this State imposed. The duties of such assistants shall be prescribed and the compensation fixed by the Department; the expense of such assistants shall be paid by the Levy' Court of New Castle County on vouchers signed by the President and Secretary of the Department; provided, however, in any year in which a Municipal election is held in the City of Wilmington, such expense shall be paid by "The Mayor and Council of the City of Wilmington", as other election expenses are paid as provided by law.

Section 5. That 1752. Sec. 8. Chapter 57 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, be and the same is hereby repealed and a new Section substituted in lieu thereof as follows:

1752. Sec. 8. Appointment of Election Officers; Removal; Vacancies:--The Department shall hereafter appoint all election officers in New Castle County, including the City of Wilmington, and shall make all necessary removals of Election Officers and fill all vacancies which occur from any cause.

Section 6. That 1753. Sec. 9. Chapter 57 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, be and the same is hereby repealed and a new Section substituted 'in lieu thereof as follows:

1753. Sec. 9. Election Officers Appointed; When; Terms; Refusal to Serve; Penalty:--The Department. of Elections for New Castle County, immediately and within five days after receiving the list of persons selected and appointed by the Bureau of Registration for New Castle County as Registrars and Assistant Registrars for each election district for New Castle County, shall select and appoint the same three persons as the Election Officers for the same election district in New Castle County, which said Election Officers shall become Inspector and Judges of Election as provided in Chapter 59 of the Revised Code. Every person so selected and appointed to be such Election Officer shall, on receipt of notice thereof, appear within ten days thereafter, before said Department, for the purpose of examination, and if found qualified, shall, unless excused by said Department by reason of ill health or other good and sufficient cause, be bound to serve as such officer at every election for the term for which he is appointed. The failure on the part of any such person to present himself for examination within the time prescribed, or to comply with any of the requirements of this Section preliminary to receiving his certificate of appointment, or to attend on any day of election during his term, unless prevented by sickness or other sufficient cause, the burden of proof of which shall be upon the delinquent, shall be deemed a refusal to comply with the requirements of this section or to serve or to act as election officer within the meaning of this Section. The Department of Elections shall deliver a certificate of appointment to whomsoever shall be selected, appointed and sworn into office, by it as such Election Officer, said certificate to be in such form as shall be prescribed by said Department of Elections and specifying the election district in and for which the person to whom the same is issued is appointed to serve, and the date of the expiration of his term of office. The persons so appointed under the provisions of this Section shall respectively hold office for the term of two years unless sooner removed for want of requisite qualifications or for cause and in either of which cases such removal unless made while such Election Officers are actually on duty on a day of election and for improper conduct as an Election Officer, shall be made only after notice in writing to the officers sought to be removed, which notice shall set forth clearly and distinctly the reasons for his removal. Any person appointed to fill any vacancy shall serve for the residue of the unexpired term of the person whose office he is appointed to fill or affirmation; provided, no fee shall be charged for administering such oath or affirmation.

Each person appointed an election officer under the provisions of this Chapter, before entering upon the duties of his office shall take and subscribe before the said Department of Elections the following oath or affirmation:

"I ________, residing in the _________ Election District of _________ Representative District in _________ County, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Delaware, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of Election Officer according to the best of my ability."

Any member of the said Department of Elections or the Secretary thereof is authorized and empowered to administer such oath or affirmation; provided, that no fee be charged for administering such oath or affirmation.

The Election Officers, during the time they hold such office, shall be exempt from the performance of military duty and when in the actual discharge of the duties of their office, from jury duty, and no person who by the laws of this State is exempt from jury duty shall be required to serve as an Election Officer.

Said Department of Elections shall have power to dismiss any such election officer at any time and to make all necessary removals, and upon so doing the said Department shall immediately notify the Bureau of Registration for New Castle County of such fact, and the said Bureau of Registration shall select and appoint another person as a Registrar or Assistant Registrar for the same Election District and the Department of Elections shall select and appoint that person as an Election Officer of the Election District. Every person appointed an Election Officer to fill a vacancy, shall qualify forthwith.

Section 8. That 1755. Sec. 11. of Chapter 57, Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, be and the same is hereby repealed and a new section substituted in lieu thereof as follows:

1755. Sec. 11. Notaries for Department; Appointment:--In addition to the Notaries Public now authorized by law for New Castle County, the Governor is hereby empowered and directed to appoint not more than .three additional Notaries Public, all of whom shall be employees of the Department of Elections for New Castle County; provided, however, that whenever any such person shall cease to be an employee of said Department, his term as a Notary Public shall terminate, and thereupon the Governor shall be authorized and directed to appoint his successor as a Notary Public.

Section 9. That 1756. Sec. 12. of Chapter 57, Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, be and the same is hereby repealed and a new section substituted in lieu thereof as follows:

1756. Sec. 12. Vacancies in Election Officers; Clerks; How Filled; Term of Appointees; Qualifications; Powers:--If any vacancy or vacancies should occur in the office of Election Officer or Clerk of Election, before the expiration of such term, from any cause whatsoever, the said Department of Elections shall appoint some suitable person or persons to fill such vacancy or vacancies who shall serve for the residue of such unexpired term or terms. Such persons shall possess the same qualifications and be qualified in the same manner, possess the same powers and perform the same duties as the original appointee or appointees; every person appointed to fill a vacancy shall qualify forthwith.

Section 10. That 1757. Sec. 13. of Chapter 57, Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, be and the same is hereby repealed.

Section 11. That 1758. Sec. 14. of Chapter 57, Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, be and the same is hereby repealed.

Section 12. That 1765. Sec. 21. of Chapter 57, Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, be and the same is hereby amended, by adding thereto the following new paragraphs at the end of said Section:

Each and every person appointed as aforesaid to act as Clerk of Elections, shall qualify as such by appearing before the Department of Elections and taking and subscribing to the oath or affirmation prescribed in this Section, within ten days after being notified of his appointment and shall perform the duties of the office for the time for which he was appointed, unless excused by the said Department by reason of ill health or other good and sufficient cause. Every person appointed a Clerk of Elections shall be a voter and resident in the election district for which he shall be appointed.

The Department of Elections shall deliver a certificate of appointment to whomsoever it shall appoint and who shall be sworn into office as a Clerk of Elections, said certificate to be in such form as shall be prescribed by such Department of Elections, specifying the election district in and for which the person to whom the same is issued is appointed to serve, and the date of the expiration of his term of office. The Department of Elections shall have full power and authority to remove any Clerk of Elections for want of requisite qualifications or other cause.

The Clerks of Elections shall be exempt from the performance of military duty and when in the actual discharge of their duties, from jury duty, and no person who is exempt from jury duty shall be required to serve as a Clerk of Elections.

Each person appointed to serve as Clerk of Elections by the Department of Elections, before entering upon the duties of his office, shall take and subscribe before the said Department, the following oath or affirmation:

"I _____________, residing in the __________ Election District of the _____________ Representative District in _________ County do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Delaware, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of Clerk of Elections according to the best of my ability."

Any member of the Department of Elections or the Secretary thereof is hereby authorized and empowered to administer such oath or affirmation, but no fee shall be charged for administering the oath or affirmation.

For appearing before the Department of Elections to qualify as aforesaid, each Clerk of Elections appointed under the provisions of this Section, shall be paid Five Dollars by the Levy Court of New Castle County upon certification by the Department of Elections, signed by the President and Secretary of the said Department.

Section 13. That 1765 B. Sec. 21B. of Chapter 57, Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, be and the same is hereby repealed.

Section 14. That 1766. Sec. 22. of Chapter 57, Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, be and the same is hereby repealed and a new Section substituted in lieu thereof as follows:

1766. Sec. 22. Compensation of Election Officials; How Paid:--It shall be the duty of the Department of Elections for New Castle County, in the month of November, in each year in which a general election is held, to ascertain the amount of compensation due Inspectors of Elections, the Judges of Elections and the Clerks of Elections, in New Castle County, and when so ascertained the President and Secretary of the said Department shall certify the same to the Levy Court of New Castle County, who shall thereupon pay to the persons entitled the sums severally due them; provided, in each year in which a Municipal Election is held in the City of Wilmington, the Department shall certify the amounts due the several election officers to the Council of the City of Wilmington.

Section 15. Delivery of Records, Books, etc. Relating to Elections:--It shall be the duty of the Clerk of the Peace of New Castle County, and every Officer, Clerk, Department and every other person having possession of or control over, records, books, (except registration books), or other property of or relating to elections in New Castle County, within ten days after the effective date of this Act, to surrender and deposit the same with the President of the Department of Elections for New Castle County, or such other person as the President shall direct.

Section 16. Repeal of Inconsistent Acts:--That all Acts or parts of Acts inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency only.

Approved March 26, 1945.