CHAPTER 278

RELATING TO ABSENTEE VOTING

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 15, DELAWARE CODE OF 1953, ENTITLED "ELECTIONS" IN RESPECT TO ABSENTEE VOTING AT GENERAL ELECTIONS.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. § 5501, Title 15, Delaware Code of 1953 is amended to read as follows:

§ 5501. Purpose of chapter

The intention of this chapter is that only a qualified elector may vote under the provisions of this chapter, who may be absent on the day of any general election from the county in which he may be registered, because of service in the Armed Forces of the United States or in the public service of this State, or because of his business or occupation; or because of personal sickness or disability, cannot appear at the polling place in his election district on the day of any general election.

Section 2. § 5502, Title 15, Delaware Code of 1953 is amended to read as follows:

§ 5502. Ballot defined As used in this chapter--

"Ballot" means the official ballot as defined in chapter 45 of this title.

Section 3. § 5503, Title 15, Delaware Code of 1953 is amended to read as follows:

§ 5503. Persons eligible to vote by absentee ballot

Any qualified elector of this State, duly registered, who shall be unable to appear to cast his ballot at any general election at the regular polling place of the election district in which he is registered, either because of being in the public service of the United States or of this State, or because of the nature of his business or occupation, or because of his sickness or physical disability, may cast a ballot at such general election to be counted in the total for such election district.

Section 4. § 5504, Title 15, Delaware Code of 1953 is amended to read as follows:

§ 5504. Application affidavit required in certain cases to obtain absentee ballot

Any elector desiring to receive an absentee ballot because of sickness, physical disability or because of his business or occupation shall file an affidavit with the Department of Elections in the county wherein such elector's election district is located, subscribed and sworn to before any person authorized to administer oaths, and dated not more than 30 days prior to the next ensuing general election, to the effect that such elector will be unable to appear at the polling place in his election district at the forthcoming general election because of personal sickness or physical disability; or because his business or occupation will require him to be absent from the county in which the election district is located.

Section 5. § 5505 (a), Title 15, Delaware Code of 1953 is amended by substituting the words and figures "under section 5503" for the words and figures "under section 5502" as the same appear in the first line thereof.

Section 6. § 5506, Title 15, Delaware Code of 1953 is amended by inserting at the end of the first phrase thereof after the words "from an elector" the following words "together with an affidavit if required by the provisions of section 5504".

Section 7. § 5507, Title 15, Delaware Code of 1953 is amended to read as follows:

§ 5507. Affidavit of eligibility on voucher envelope; form

There shall be printed on the face of each voucher envelope an affidavit in substantially the following form:

"I do solemnly swear (affirm) that I am a resident of the State of Delaware and will have resided therein at least _________ years preceding the day of the election at which this ballot is to be voted; that my voting address is __________ Street address, Road in or near ______, Election City; ______Town; ______Village.

District ______ Representative District ______ Hundred _____ in ____County.

"That I will be absent from said county on the day of said general election because of (_____) being in the Armed Services of the United States, (____) public services of this State, (______) nature of my business or occupation, ( ) sickness or physical disability, and for the reason indicated I cannot appear at the polling place in the election district in which I am a qualified elector. I further swear, (affirm) that I marked my ballot in secret.

(Signed) __________

Write name here.

_________________

Print name here.

Subscribed and sworn (affirmed) before me this _____ day of _____, A. D. 19__; and I hereby certify that the affiant did in such manner that I could not see his ballot, mark such ballot, and that the affiant was not solicited or advised by me to vote for or against any candidate.

(Signed) _____________

Notary Public; or other qualified person; state title"

Section 8. § 5511, Title 15, Delaware Code of 1953 is amended to read as follows:

§ 5511. Time limit for return of ballot; late ballots

The absentee voter shall return his marked ballot enclosed in the voucher envelope to the Department of Elections of his county before the time when the general election shall be closed. No absentee ballots delivered to the Department of Elections after the time for closing the election shall be counted; but the President and Secretary of the Department shall endorse on the voucher envelope containing such ballot the time such was received and shall retain all such envelopes unopened and so endorsed until the Tuesday next following the general election when they shall be destroyed, unless otherwise directed by competent authority.

Section 9. § 5513, Title 15, Delaware Code of 1953 is amended to read as follows:

§ 5513. Special carrier envelope used to convey absentee ballots to Prothonotary

The special carrier envelope in which the absentee ballots are placed when returned by the absentee voter shall have printed thereon the following:

"ABSENTEE VOTER'S BALLOT.

This envelope contains an absentee voter's ballot and shall be opened only at the direction and under the supervision of persons authorized so to do by the Superior Court acting as the Official Board of Canvass.

DEPARTMENT OF ELECTIONS FOR _____ COUNTY.

________ (Secretary) ____________ (President)"

Section 10. § 5514, Title 15, Delaware Code of 1953 is amended to read as follows:

§ 5514. Delivery of absentee ballots to Prothonotary

Absentee ballots received by any Department of Elections pursuant to section 5511 of this chapter shall be deposited in a ballot box or boxes of a type such as have been used at general elections. Immediately after the polls are closed the aforementioned ballots shall be deposited in the inner box or boxes and the lid thereof shall be secured by tape crossed and sealed with sealing wax by the President of the Department or other person authorized to do so. The box containing the ballots shall then be placed inside the outer box furnished for that purpose and the outer box shall then be locked, the keys shall be retained by the President of the Department of Elections and the box or boxes containing the said ballots shall, within one hour after the election is closed, be delivered to the Prothonotary of the Superior Court of the county who shall at 12:00 o'clock noon on the second day after the election present the same to the said Court, and the President of the Department of Elections, or person authorized by him, at the same time shall present the keys for the box or boxes to the Superior Court of the County.

Section 11. §§ 5515, 5516, and 5518, Title 15, Delaware Code of 1953 are repealed.

Approved July 7, 1953.