CHAPTER 365

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 504

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 158, VOLUME 36, LAWS OF DELAWARE, ENTITLED "AN ACT CHANGING THE NAME OF THE TOWN OF DOVER' TO THE 'CITY OF DOVER' AND ESTABLISHING A CHARTER THEREFOR" AS AMENDED BY CHAPTER 283, VOLUME 46; CHAPTER 219, VOLUME 47; CHAPTER 314, VOLUME 47; CHAPTER 93, VOLUME 51; CHAPTER 98, VOLUME 59; CHAPTER 456, VOLUME 60; CHAPTER 147, VOLUME 61; CHAPTER 100, VOLUME 62; CHAPTER 5, VOLUME 64; AND CHAPTER 479, VOLUME 65, LAWS OF DELAWARE, RELATING TO ELECTIONS, DUTIES OF THE MAYOR AND VICE-MAYOR, CREATING THE OFFICE OF COUNCIL PRESIDENT, AND CHANGING VOTER REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):

Section I. Amend Section 5, Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, as amended by

Chapter 219, Volume 47; Chapter 1-47, Volume 61; Chapter 5, Volume 64; and Chapter 479, Volume 65, Laws of Delaware, by striking the existing Section 5 In its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof a new Section 5 to read as follows:

"Section 5. Council to be Legislative Body; Size; Districts; Terms of

Mayor and Councilmen; Qualifications.

The Council shall be the legislative body of the City and composed of eight members nominated and elected as hereinbefore provided until the second Monday of May 1989 at which time and thereafter Council shall be composed of nine members as hereinafter provided.

In order that the members of Council shall be distributed over the City, the City shall be divided Into districts. For the April 1988 regular municipal election, the City shall remain divided Into four election districts previously established by Council. For the April 1989 regular municipal election and for each election thereafter, the City shall be divided Into four election districts, the district boundaries of which shall be established by Council so that the districts are nearly equal In population as shown by the 1980 federal

decennial census. The district boundaries established for the April 1989 regular municipal election shall continue In effect until the next succeeding federal decennial census Is made available for use by municipalities In the State of Delaware, at which time Council shall redistrict the City so that the districts shall be nearly equal In population in accordance with said census, which redistricting shall be used for the next regular municipal election, which procedure shall be followed by Council after each succeeding federal decennial census in this manner so that the districts shall be maintained as nearly equal In population as possible at all times.

The term of the Mayor elected at the April 1988 regular municipal election shall be for a term of two years from the second Monday of May 1988 until the second Monday of May 1990 or until his successor has been duly elected and qualified Thereafter, commencing with the regular municipal election to be held In April of 1990 and thereafter, the term of Mayor shall be for a period of two years commencing on the second Monday In May following his election and continuing for a term of two years until the second Monday In May or until his successor has been duly elected and qualified.

The term of the Councilmen shall be for two years. In the April 1988 regular

municipal election, four Councilmen shall be elected by at-large voting with one Councilman coming from each of the four election districts then in existence. These four Councilmen shall take office on the second Monday of May of 1988 and their term shall expire on the second Monday of May 1990. In the regular municipal election held In April of 1989 after Council has divided the City Into four election districts, five Councilmen shall be elected, four of whom shall be elected by district voting from each of the districts as designated by Council and one of whom shall be elected by at-large voting by all voters of the City, the term of these five Councilmen to commence on the second Monday of May of 1989 and terminate on the second Monday of May of 1991 with their successors being elected in the regular municipal election held in April of 1991 and each two years thereafter. At the regular municipal election held in April of 1990, four Councilmen shall be elected by district voting from each of the four districts as designated by Council, which Councilmen shall serve a term commencing the second Monday of May 1990 and terminating the second Monday of May 1992 Commencing with the requ'ar

municipal election to be held in April of 1991, as herein provided, and each two years thereafter, five Councilmen shall be elected, four by district voting being from the districts and one at-large as stated herein. In the regular municipal
election held in April of 1992 and every two years thereafter, four Councilmen

shall be elected by district voting from each of the districts of the City.

In order to be eligible to be elected as Mayor or as a member of Council, the person must as of the date of the election be: (1) a citizen of the United States and of the State of Delaware; (2) a resident of the City and having continuously resided therein or in an area annexed to the City during the two years next preceding the day of the election; (3) be a resident of the election district from which he is seeking election, unless he is seeking election as an at-large Councilman or Mayor; (4) twenty-one (21) years of age; and (5) nominated therefore, as hereinafter provided.

If a Councilman files and runs for Mayor, whether or not he is elected to said office, the term as Councilman shall automatically expire on the second Monday of May on the year of the election; and if he has a year remaining on his term, then his office as Councilman shall be filled at the same annual election In which he has filed to run for the office of Mayor."

Section 2. Amend Section 6, Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, as amended by

Chapter 147, Volume 61, Laws of Delaware, by striking the existing Section 6 in its entirety and substituting In lieu thereof a new Section 6 to read as follows:

"Section 6. Municipal Election Dates.

Regular municipal elections shall be held each year on the third Monday in April and shall be known as the regular municipal election. All other municipal elections that may be held shall be known as special municipal elections. At the regular municipal election to be held on the third Monday in April of 1988, four Councilmen shall be elected, one from each of the four election districts by at-large voting in the same manner as heretofore and a Mayor shall be elected by the voters of the City as heretofore. In the regular municipal election to be held on the third Monday In April of 1989 and every two years thereafter, five Councilmen shall be elected for a term of two years, four of whom shall be elected by district voting from each of the election districts and one of whom shall be elected at large by the voters of the City. At the regular municipal election to be held on the third Monday In April of 1990 and every two years thereafter, four Councilmen shall be elected by district voting, one being from each of the election districts and a Mayor shall be elected by the voters of the City for a term of two years. Every two years thereafter a Mayor shall be elected In the same manner."

Section 3. Amend Section 7, Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, as amended by Chapter 98, Volume 59; and Chapter 147, Volume 61, Laws of Delaware, by striking the existing first six paragraphs of said Section 7 in their entirety, thereby permitting the Seventh paragraph together with the form of the nominating petition of said Section 7 to exist, and substituting In lieu thereof five new paragraphs to read as follows:

"Section 7. The mode of nomination of candidates for the Council and for Mayor shall be by petition, signed by not less than ten (10) nor more than twenty-five (25) electors of the City, filed with the Clerk of Council on or before 4:00 p.m. on the second Friday of February of each year for candidates for Council and on or before 4:00 p.m. on the last working day In January for candidates for Mayor in the years when a Mayor is to be elected. Should the second Friday of February fall on a legal holiday, the filing date shall be 4:00 p.m. on the net working day thereafter which is not a legal holiday.

Whenever a petition nominating a person for the office of Mayor or Councilman shall have been filed as above prescribed, the name of such person shall be printed on the ballot for the regular municipal election as a candidate for the office for which he was nominated, provided he possesses the qualifications prescribed by this Charter for a candidate for such office.

No nominating petition shall designate more than one person to be voted for as a member of Council or as Mayor

The signers of- a nominating petition for a member of the Council must be electors of the City residing in the City election district in which the nominee resides; but the signers to the nominating petition for the Mayor and for the at-large Councilman may be City electors residing In the City at-large.

There must be attached to each nominating petition an affidavit of the circulator thereof, stating the number of signers and that each signature appended thereto was made In his presence, and is the genuine signature of the person whose name it purports to be, and that all of said signers are entitled to vote at the regular municipal election referred to; and, in the case of a petition nominating a candidate for Councilman running from a particular district and to be elected by district voting, that the circulator of the petition verily believes that each signer of said petition is a resident of the same City election district in which the nominee resides,"

Section 4. Amend Section 7, Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, as amended by Chapter 98, Volume 59; and Chapter 147, Volume 6), Laws of Delaware, by striking the period "." following the phrase "referred to In said paper." in the existing form of the nominating petition In the seventh paragraph of said Section 7, and substituting In lieu thereof a semicolon Ā°;" and phrase to read as follows:

";and, In case the petition Is nominating a candidate for Councilman to be elected from a specific district by district voting, that each signer of said petition is a resident of the same City election district in which the nominee resides."

Section 5. Amend Section 8, Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, as amended by Chapter 98, Volume 59; Chapter 456, Volume 60; and Chapter 147, Volume 61, Laws of Delaware, by striking the existing Section 8 in Its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof a new Section 8 to read as follows:

"Section 8. Time and Place of Elections; Election Board; Counting of Votes;

Determination of Winners;_ Tie Votes; Persons Eligible to Vote; Voter RegistratTEā€¢ Official 8allots and Voting Machines; Absentee Ballots.

The regular municipal election shall be held on the third Monday of April in the year 1988 and each year thereafter. At each such regular municipal election, the polls shall be opened at 11:00 a.m. and closed at 8:00 p.m. The Council may designate the places of election and make all necessary rules and regulations not inconsistent with this Charter or with other laws of the State of Delaware for the conduct of elections, for the prevention of fraud In elections, and for the recount of ballots In case of doubt or fraud.

All elections shall be held by an election board which shall consist of the Alderman and two members of Council whose terms of office continue for the year following the election, to be chosen by the Council at the meeting prior to the election. The Alderman may designate such other persons as he shall deem necessary to assist the members of the election board in the conduct of the election and counting of the ballots. Should any or all of the members of the election board be absent from the place of election at 11:00 a.m. on the day of the election or fall or neglect to act in the conduct of such election during the time the polls are open and until the ballots are counted and the results of the election certified, the voters of the City present at such time may choose from the qualified voters of the City such igerson or persons as shall be necessary to fill places made vacant by the absence or neglect aforesaid.

When the polls are closed, the election board shall publicly count the votes and shall certify the results of the election to each of the persons elected and to the Council. The candidate for the office of Mayor who receives the highest number of votes cast for that office shat) be declared to be elected Mayor; the candidate for the office of at-large Councilman who receives the highest number of votes cast for that office shall be declared to be elected at-large Councilman; and the candidates for the offices of Councilmen from each district who receive the highest number of votes cast by voters who reside In that district and cast votes for Councilmen of that district shall be declared to be elected to that office. In the event of a tie vote for any office, a special election for said office(s) only shall be held within thirty (30) days and the registration books shall remain closed until the outcome of the special election Is determined.

Every resident of the City of Dover who shall have reached the age of eighteen (18) years by the time of the election and who is properly registered to vote shall be entitled to vote at the regular or special municipal elections. For the regular municipal election to be held In April of 1988, the voter must be registered in accordance with the existing City of Dover voter registration requirements In effect for previous elections. For the regular municipal election to,be held in April of 1989 and for each year thereafter, the voter will be considered properly registered to vote if he Is properly registered to vote for State elections in accordance with Title 15 of the Delaware Code as amended.

The Council shall provide for the use of voting machines in ail regular and special municipal elections in conformity with Title 15 of the Delaware Code by ordinance duly adopted by Council. Voting machines shall be used in accordance with Title 15 of the Delaware Code and by ordinance duly adopted by Council. Voting machines shall be used in accordance with Title 15 of the Delaware Code and by ordinance adopted by Council. The names of the candidates for each office shall be listed in alphabetical order on the voting machines under the name of the office to which they seek election. The voters shall designate their choice of candidates In accordance with the regular method of operation of voting machines. The Council may provide sample ballots plainly marked as such and printed on paper of any color except white to be distributed to any voter or candidate who requests them prior to or during the election.

Any qualified voter, duly registered, who shall be unable to appear to cast his ballot at any election either because of being In the public service of the United States or of this State, or because he will be unavoidably absent from the City on the day of the election, or because of his sickness or physical disability may cast a ballot at such election by absentee ballot to be counted in the total

of such election. The Council may provide the rules and regulations for such absentee voting by ordinance for all elections."

Section 6. Amend Section 9, Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, as amended by Chapter 147, Volume 61, laws of Delaware, by striking the existing Section 9 in its entirety and substituting In lieu thereof a new Section 9 to read as follows:

"Section 9. At 7:30 p.m. on the second Monday in May in 1988 and each year thereafter, following a regular municipal election, the Mayor and Council shall meet at the usual place for holding Council meetings and the newly elected officers shall assume the duties of office, being first duly sworn or affirmed to perform their duties with fidelity. Such meeting shall be called or known as the annual meeting. Thereafter, the Council shall hold regular meetings at such times as may be prescribed by ordinance, but not less frequently than once each month. Special meetings may be called and held as preScribed by ordinance. All meetings of the Council shall be open to the public except scheduled executive sessions.

At the annual meeting held on the second Monday in May in 1990, and each year thereafter, the members of Council shall elect one of their members to serve as Council President, such term to be In effect until the next regularly scheduled

annual meeting or until a successor Is elected. The Council president shall serve as Vice-Mayor. Council president shall preside over regular and special Council meetings.

The Mayor shall preside over the annual meeting and quarterly town meetings, and at the annual meeting present a State of the City message and offer Mayoral appointments for Council confirmation. The Mayor, upon recommendation- from the Council President, will present Council's appointments for Council approval."

Section 7. Amend Section 10, Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, as amended by Chapter 456, Volume 60, laws of Delaware, by striking the existing Section 10 in Its entirety and subStItuting In lieu thereof a new Section 10 to read as follows:

"Section 10. Meeting of Mayor and Council - Procedure.

Five (5) of the members elected to the Council shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a less number may adjourn from time to time and may compel the attendance of absent members In such manner and under such penalties as may be prescribed by ordinance.

No ordinance, resolution, motion or order shall be valid unless It shall have (I) the affirmative vote of a majority of the members elected to the Council, and (2) the written approval of the Mayor, or the Vice-Mayor In those cases where the Vice-Mayor is authorized to act as Mayor as provided In Section 15 hereof, provided that In the absence of such approval by the mayor, or the Vice-Mayor as the case may be, the Council may, after not less than seven (7) days nor more than thirty-five (35) days after the prior vote, pass or adopt the said ordinance, resolution, motion or order which did not receive the approval of the Mayor, or the Vice Mayor , by the affirmative vote of two-thirds Of the members elected to Council.

Whenever the Council shall adopt an ordinance, resolution, motion or order, it shall be th.2 duty of the Mayor, or the Vice-Mayor, to signify his approval or disapproval thereof In wr,tIng to the Clerk of the Council within seven (7) days thereafter. The Clerk of the Council shall forthwith notify the members of the Council of such approval or disapproval

Motions to adjourn meetings of Council and orders to compel the attendance of absent members shall not require the approval of the Mayor or Vice-Mayor.

A Councilman may abstain from voting on a matter that he feels would involve the consideration of his own official conduct, on a matter in which fie has a financial interest, in a matter in which he has a conflict of interest or in accordance with a policy adopted by Council.

The yeas and nays shall be taken upon the passage of every ordinance and resolution and entered together with the text of the ordinance or resolution upon the journal of the proceedings of the Council. The journal shall be deemed conclusive evidence of the facts stated therein except in the case of fraud."

Section 8. Amend Section 14, Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, as amended by Chapter 456, Volume 60, Laws of Delaware, by striking the existing Section 14 in its entirety and substituting In lieu thereof a new Section )4 to read as follows:

"Section 14. Duties of Mayor.

The Mayor shall be the executive and chief official of the City. He shall have the powers and perform the duties conferred and imposed by this Charter and ordinances of the City. Prior to the second Monday in May of 1990, he shall preside at all meetings of the Council, but after the second Monday In May of 1990, the Council President shall preside at all meetings of the Council with the exception of the annual meeting and Quarterly town meetings which shall be presided over by the Mayor. The Mayor shall have no vote on Council matters of any nature whatsoever. The Mayor is an ex-off)clo member of all committees, but shall have no vote."

Section 9. Amend Section 15, Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, by striking the existing Section 15 In Its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof a new Section 15 to read as follows:

"Section 15. Vice-Mayor, Duties of.

At the annual meeting to be held on the second Monday in May of 1988 and 1989, the Council shall elect one of their number to the office of Vice-Mayor. Commencing with the annual meeting to be held on the second Monday in May of 1990 and each year thereafter, Council shall elect one of their number as Council President who shall also serve as Vice-Mayor. During a vacancy In the office of Mayor or during the absence or disability of the Mayor, the Vice-Mayor shall have all the powers and duties of the Mayor, except as hereinafter provided. The Council President and Vice-Mayor shall retain his right to vote as Councilman at all times although he may be acting as the Mayor, unless the Mayor's absence appears to be Indefinite or extended, in which case Council shall pass a resolution appointing the Vice-Mayor as Mayor until the Mayor's position is either filled In accordance with Section 13 hereof or the Mayor returns to his duties, which resolution shall provide that the Vice-Mayor shall have the right to approve or disapprove Council action In accordance with Section 10 hereof, in which case the Vice-Mayor shall lose his vote as Councilman until further action Is taken by Council."

Section 10. Amend Section 47, Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware. as amended by Chapter 283, Volume 46; Chapter 3)4, Volume 47; Chapter 93, Volume 51; Chapter 100, Volume 62; and Chapter 5, Volume 64, Laws of Delaware, by striking the word "Mayor" as It appears In the first sentence of the fifth paragraph and substituting in lieu thereof the words "Council President".

Section 11. Amend Section 57, Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, by striking the existing first paragraph of said Section 57 In Its entirety and substituting In lieu thereof a new first paragraph of Section 57 to read as follows:

"The Mayor and members of Council at the time of approval of this act to revise the Charter shall retain their elected terms of office until re-elected or failure to be re-elected under the provisions and terms established herein."

Section 12. Amend Section 61, Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, by striking the existing Section 61 in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof a new Section 61 to read as follows:

'Section 61. Severability.

If any part of this act to amend the 1929 Charter of the City of Dover, or of the unamended portions of the original Charter, are held to be unconstitutional, such holding shall not be deemed to invalidate the remaining portions of this Act or the Charter it amends."

Approved July 12, 1988.