CHAPTER 712

HOUSE BILL NO. 86

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NOS.

1, 2 AND 3

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 31, TITLE 15 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO PRIMARY ELECTIONS AND NOMINATIONS OF CANDIDATES, AND PROVIDING FOR A DIRECT PRIMARY.

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

Section 1. Amend Chapter 31, Part III, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new section, designated as §3101A, which new section shall read as follows:

"§3101A. Direct Primary Elections.

The nominations of candidates by all political parties for all officers to be decided at a general election shall be conducted by direct primary. All such primaries shall be conducted by the county Department of Election under the applicable provisions of this Title."

Section 2. Amend §3101 Chapter 31, Part III, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking §3101 in its entirety, and substituting in lieu thereof:

"§3101. Nomination, Withdrawal and Primary Election Dates.

The following schedule shall apply for all candidates:

(a) Notification of candidacy shall be on or before twelve o'clock noon (12:00 p.m.) of the last Friday in July. In the event the last Friday in July is a legal holiday, then the last day to give notification shall be the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday or a legal holiday.

(b) Such notification of candidacy may be withdrawn on or before twelve o'clock noon (12:00 p.m.) of the second Friday in August. In the event the second Friday in August is a legal holiday, then the final day to withdraw shall be the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday or a legal holiday.

(c) Primary elections for all political parties shall be conducted on the first Saturday next following the first Monday in September.

(d) After the deadline for Notification of Candidacy set forth in subsection (a) and before the deadline for withdrawal set forth in subsection (b), a candidate may change his candidacy and become a candidate for a different office in the coming election. Such change of candidacy shall be deemed to be irrevocable withdrawal from candidacy for the first announced office."

Section 3. Amend subsection (a), Section 3103, Chapter .31, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking paragraph (4) in its entirety.

Section 4. Amend §3103, Chapter 31, Part III, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking the figure "2070" as the same appears in subsection (b), and substituting the figure "1070" in lieu thereof.

Section 5. Amend subsection (c), Section 3103, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking the words "pursuant to §3106 of this Title" as they appear in the last sentence thereof and substituting in lieu thereof the words "pursuant to §3101 of this Title".

Section 6. Amend §3106, Chapter 31, Part III, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety, and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"§3106. Filing of Candidacy for Nomination at a Primary Election; Withdrawal

(a) Any person desiring to be a candidate shall give notice in the following manner:

(1) Candidates for Statewide office:

(i) Any Statewide candidate shall notify the Chairman of the State committee of his respective political party, or his designee in writing, on forms prescribed by the State Election Commissioner on or before the deadline set forth in §3101 (a) of this Title.

(ii) At the time of giving notice as required above, each candidate shall tender the required filing fee, if any, be giving a check to the State Election Commissioner, payable to the State committee of the candidate's political party, together with a copy of the notice given the party's State Chairman. At such time, the Commissioner shall receipt a third copy of said notice, to be provided the candidate.

(iii) Except incumbents, the notification given to the State Election Commissioner shall include nominating petitions signed by not less than two percentum (2Wo) of the total number of qualified electors of the candidate's party in this State. These petitions shall be prepared by Representative Districts and shall include the signatures, printed names and addresses of all qualified voters signing them. Each petition shall contain a general declaration, subscribed to by each person signing the petition, that such signer is a duly qualified and registered elector of the candidate's party, and is signing the petition under oath. This statement shall be followed by a warning that persons placing illegal signatures on the petition may be subject to prosecution for perjury. Each petition shall also include a statement signed by the person gathering the signatures that such person witnessed the placing of each signature upon the petition.

(2) Candidates for all other offices:

(i) All candidates for county or countywide office, members of the General Assembly, and/or municipal office for any municipality holding its election at the time of the general election shall notify the county Chairman, or his designee, in writing (or the city Chairman, or his designee, if applicable for municipal candidates) of their respective political party in their county of residence on forms prescribed by the State Election Commissioner on or before the deadline set forth in §3101 (a) of this Title.

(ii) At the time of giving notice as required above, each candidate shall tender the required filing fee, if any, by giving a check to the county Department of Elections, payable to the county committee of the candidate's political party (or city committee, if applicable for municipal candidates), together with a copy of the notice given to the party Chairman. At such time, the Department shall receipt a third copy of the notice, to be provided the candidate.

(b) If any of the filing fees mentioned in (a) above are not required, each candidate shall still give notice to the election agency having jurisdiction, as specified in (a)(1) and (a)(2), and shall receive a receipted copy of the prescribed form.

(c) Any candidate who has filed for nomination as required above may withdraw said filing by notifying the respective elections agency with whom he filed on forms prescribed by the State Election Commissioner on or before the deadline set forth in §3101 (b) of this Title. The elections agency having jurisdiction shall promptly notify the same political party Chairman who received the original notice of filing. The filing fee of the candidate so withdrawing shall be returned to him. In the event a candidate withdraws after the deadline set forth in §3101 (b) of this Title, he shall forfeit the filing fee to the political party. In cases where no filing fee was required, any candidate withdrawing after the deadline shall submit to the respective elections agency a check payable to the Treasurer of the State of Delaware in the amount of fifty dollars ($50.00).

(d) Following the deadline for withdrawal of candidates, the State Election Commissioner shall promptly turn over the filing fee checks of the Statewide candidates to the State Chairmen of their respective political parties. At the same time, the Commissioner shall notify each county Department of Elections of all those Statewide candidates who have qualified under this section.

The county Departments shall also at this time submit to the county Chairman (or city Chairman, if applicable) all filing fee checks from candidates of their respective political parties and shall notify the Commissioner of all persons who have qualified as candidates.

(e) Any notice of candidacy or withdrawal of candidacy required by this section shall include the signature of each candidate, together with his proper and correct name typed or printed, and the address from which he is registered to vote."

Section 7. Amend §3107, Chapter 31, Part III, Ti-

tle 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety, and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"§3107. Determination of Nominee.

Any candidate for party nomination to any office who receives a plurality of the votes cast in his party's primary election for that office shall be the nominee of his party for such office."

Section 8. Amend §3113, Chapter 31, Part III, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety, and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"§3113. Nominating Conventions.

political party, and for formulation of the party platform may be by convention."

Section 9. The provisions of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 1976.

Approved August 9, 1976