CHAPTER 172

RELATING TO CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 49, AND CHAPTER 50, TITLE 15 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS.

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

Section 1. § 4931, Title 15 of the Delaware Code is amended by striking out the words "between the hours of seven and seven-thirty o'clock" and inserting in lieu thereof the words "at seven o'clock".

Section 2. § 4939 (a), Title 15 of the Delaware Code is amended by striking out and repealing § 4939 (a) and inserting and enacting in lieu thereof a new § 4939 (a) to read as fol.: lows:

(a) A voter upon entering the room where an election is being held, shall announce his name and address, whereupon each of the Clerks shall enter his name upon the poll lists being kept by him. The Election Officers shall first determine whether the Election District Record contains an original permanent registration record for the voter, and if it appears that the voter is properly registered, an Election Officer shall hand to the voter a Voter Signature Card which the voter shall sign. An Election Officer shall then place the voter's permanent significant registration number upon the Voter Signature Card. Two Election Officers, one from each political party, shall then compare the signature of the voter as it appears upon the Voter Signature Card with the signature of the voter, as it appears upon the voter's original permanent registration record in the Election District Record. If the two Election Officers are not satisfied that the voter who signed the Voter Signature Card is the same voter who signed the voter's original permanent registration record, the voter shall not be permitted to vote.

In the event that the voter is unable to sign a Voter Signature Card for any reason, or in the event that the voter's original permanent registration record is unsigned, or both, the two Election Officers shall determine the identity of the voter by means other than by comparison of signatures.

In the event of a disagreement as to the identity of the voter, his right to vote shall be determined by a majority vote of the Inspector and the two Judges of the Election. In the event that the voter is not permitted to vote, his Voter Signature Card shall be marked "not permitted to vote" and signed by two Election Officers, and shall be forwarded to the Department at the same time and in the same manner as other Voter Signature Cards are sent to the Department.

If the Election Officers are satisfied that the voter is the same voter who signed or marked the voter's original permanent registration record, the Clerk having custody of the envelopes shall then deliver to such voter an official envelope with the names of the Clerks recorded in full thereon as provided in Sections 4914 and 4938 of this title, and the Clerk having the custody of the ballots shall deliver to such voter an official ballot for the election district wherein the election is being held.

The voter may then and without leaving the room go into any of the voting booths or compartments which may be unoccupied. The voter shall deposit the ballot which he desires to vote in the envelope delivered to him by the Clerk. After depositing the ballot in the envelope the voter shall deliver the envelope containing his ballot to the Inspector, or Judge who may be authorized temporarily to act as Inspector. The Inspector shall then audibly pronounce the name of the voter and the Inspector shall forthwith, in the presence of the voter and the other election officers, place a rubber band around the envelope handed to him by the voter in such manner as to keep the ballot from falling out of the envelope, and shall deposit the envelope in the ballot box. Thereupon the Inspector shall cause a notation to be made upon the original permanent registration record of the voter to indicate that he has voted in the election.

Section 3. § 4944, Title 15 of the Delaware Code is amended by striking out and repealing said section and by inserting and enacting in lieu thereof a new § 4944 to read as follows :

§ 4944. Grounds for refusing to accept a ballot

The Inspector shall not at any election receive or deposit in the ballot box the ballot of any person offering to vote until his original permanent registration record shall have been found in the Election District Record and the Judges or a majority of them shall be satisfied that the person so offering to vote is the person named in the record ; but no objection to the vote of any person whose original permanent registration record shall have been found in the Election District Record shall be entered or considered by the Judges except for the following reasons-

1. The person offering to vote is not the person whose original permanent registration record appears in the Election District Record.

2. The person offering to vote is disqualified from voting under section 4946 of this title.

Section 4. § 4945, Title 15 of the Delaware Code is amended by striking out and repealing said section and by inserting and enacting in lieu thereof a new § 4945 to read as follows:

§ 4945. Determination of challenge based on identity of voter

If a vote is objected to for the reason that the person offering to vote is not the person whose original permanent registration record appears in the Election District Record, its admission or rejection shall be determined according to the opinion of a majority of the Judges.

Section 5. § 4954, Title 15 of the Delaware Code is amended by striking out the words "six o'clock in the afternoon" and inserting in lieu thereof the words "eight o'clock P. M."

Section 6. § 4978 (c), Title 15 of the Delaware Code is amended by striking out and repealing said subsection and by inserting and enacting in lieu thereof a new subsection (c) to read as follows :

(c) In election districts wherein only voting machines are used, the provisions of this section shall apply so far as is consistent therewith. In such election districts, one certificate and two poll lists shall be delivered to the Department of Elections which shall be retained by the Department subject to examination by the Board of Canvass.

Section 7. § 4979 (c), Title 15 of the Delaware Code is amended by striking out and repealing said subsection and by by inserting and enacting in lieu thereof a new § 4979 (c) to read as follows:

(c) Each Inspector shall immediately after the election, deliver into the office of the Department, the Election District Record, and all of the Voter Signature Cards, which were supplied to him by the Department before the election.

Section 8. Chapter 49, Title 15 of the Delaware Code is amended by adding a new section thereto to be designated as § 4980 and to read as follows :

§ 4980. Duties of Department and Commissioner following an election

Immediately following an election the Department shall take each Voter Signature Card and compare it with the voter's original permanent registration record in the Election District Record to determine whether the Election Officers have properly noted that the voter voted at the election. The Department shall cause a proper notation to be made upon the duplicate permanent registration record in the County Master Record of the fact that the voter has voted in the election. The Department shall notify the Commissioner of the names of each voter who voted in the election, and the Commissioner shall cause the punch-card of the voter to be punched to indicate that he has voted in the election.

Voter Signature Cards, and all other forms and records not of a permanent nature, which are used in the conduct of an election, shall be retained by the Department for not less than 1 year following the election. The Commissioner may

require that the Department send the Voter Signature Cards used in the election to the Commissioner to carry out his duties under this section. In such event, the Commissioner shall return the Voter Signature Cards to the Department not more than 6 months following their delivery to the Commissioner.

Section 9. § 5020 is amended by striking out the first two sentences and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

§ 5020. Manner of voting

When the voter presents himself for the purpose of voting, his right to vote shall be determined in the same manner as provided in section 4939 (a) of this title, and if the voter is not challenged or if a challenge is decided in his favor, one of the Election Officers to be stationed at the entrance of the voting machine shall announce the name of the voter and permit him to pass through the entrance to the booth of the voting machine for the purpose of casting his vote. The Judges shall then cause the original permanent registration record of the voter to be appropriately marked to indicate that the voter has voted in the election.

Section 10. § 5023, Title 15 of the Delaware Code is amended by inserting between the eighth and ninth sentences the following :

Absentee ballots, if any, shall be counted as provided in section 4972 of this title.

Section 11. § 5023, Title 15 of the Delaware Code is further amended by changing the period after the words "as shown on his counter" to a comma and by adding thereafter the words "and by the absentee ballots, if any".

Section 12. § 5026, Title 15 of the Delaware Code is amended by adding after the words "provided that where no ballot box is used" the words "except the ballot box used for absentee ballots".

Section 13. § 5015, Title 15 of the Delaware Code is amended by striking out and repealing said section and by inserting and enacting in lieu thereof a new § 5015 to read as follows :

§ 5015. Voting machine out of order; procedure

In case any voting machine used in any election district shall, during the time the polls are open, become injured so as to render it inoperative in whole or in part, the Department of Elections shall substitute a perfect machine for the injured machine, and at the close of the polls, the record of both machines shall be taken, and the votes shown on their counters shall be added together in ascertaining and determining the results of the election. The Department of Elections shall maintain and hold in readiness a reasonable number of extra voting machines to be supplied to election districts where a voting machine has become inoperative, and the Department shall take reasonable steps to insure rapid delivery in such event.

Approved May 31, 1955.