CHAPTER 188

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 244

AS AMENDED BY

SENATE AMENDMENT NOS. 1, 2 AND 3

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 15 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO ELECTIONS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend §1101, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"§1101. Permanent Registration System.

(a) Persons who have registered to vote in accordance with the provisions of this title shall not be removed from the voting rolls so long as their permanent place of residence is within this state, they have not been disenfranchised for any cause prescribed in the laws of this state, or their registration has not been canceled as provided elsewhere in this title.

(b) Registered voters who change their permanent place of residence within this state or legally change their name should reregister as elsewhere provided in this title. Those registered voters who have changed their permanent place of residence within this state or have legally changed their names without reregistering shall be permitted to vote at the polling place for their permanent place of residence on the day of any election covered by this title."

Section 2. Amend §1102, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety.

Section 3. Amend §1302(a) (1), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsection in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

AI) The registration serial number of the application and the permanent registration number (social security number or assigned number);"

Section 4. Amend §1302(a) (6), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsection in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"(6) Birthdate;"

Section 5. Amend §1302(a) (8), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsection in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"(8) The name of the agency representative or person assisting the applicant;"

Section 6. Amend § 1302(a) (9), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsection in its entirety.

Section 7. Amend §1306, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety.

Section 8. Amend §1307, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety.

Section 9. Amend Title 15 of the Delaware Code by inserting § 1704 as follows:

"§1704. Identification of persons who are no longer eligible to vote,

establishment of an 'inactive status,' cancellation of registration, and provision for reregistration.

(a) The Commissioner of Elections on or before April I of each year shall compile a list of registered voters who no longer reside at the address at which they are registered to vote. The Commissioner shall accomplish this by:

( 1) Contracting with a U.S. Postal Service licensed vendor to compare the list of registered voters against the list of persons who have filed a permanent change of address with the U.S. Postal Service and obtain from the vendor a list of registered voters who have changed their address both within and without this State.

(2) EFFECTIVE January 1, 1997. Obtaining from the Division of Motor Vehicles a list of all persons who have surrendered their Delaware driver's license while obtaining a driver's license from another state. The Commissioner shall compare this list against the list of registered voters and compile a list of registered voters who have surrendered their Delaware driver's license.

(b) EFFECTIVE January 1, 1997. The Commissioner of Elections or his designated representative shall merge the two lists compiled in accordance with subsection (a) above and remove duplicate names.

(c) The Commissioner of Elections or his designated agent shall then send an address verification request via forwardable first class mail to each person on the list. He shall mail the request to the address at which the person is registered to vote unless the U.S. Postal Service vendor provides an updated address. The request shall ask the person to sign the return card and:

(1) Authorize cancellation of their Delaware voter registration because they are no longer permanent residents of the state of Delaware;

(2) Provide the address of their permanent place of residence if they still reside within Delaware;

(3) Or, certify that the address at which they are currently registered to vote is their correct address and place of permanent residence.

(d) The address verification request shall include a postage-paid return card or envelope preaddressed to the Department of Elections in the county in which the person is registered to vote.

(e) The respective Department of Elections, upon receipt of the return card in accordance with the response shall:

(1) Upon authorization by the Board of Elections at a meeting of the Board of Elections of the county, remove the voter from the records of the Commissioner of Elections and the county Department of Elections;

(2) Update the person's voter registration record with the new address if it is within the department's jurisdiction;

(1) Send the returned card and the person's voter registration record to the Department of Elections that has jurisdiction over the new address;

(3) Or, update the person's voter registration record showing that the person has certified that the address on the permanent voter registration record is their permanent place of residence.

(0 On June 1 of each year following an address verification mailing in

accordance with this section, the Commissioner of Elections shall place all person's who

(g) A person properly removed from the voting rolls in accordance with this chapter must reregister in order to vote in any election conducted in accordance with this title. A person removed in error through the process described in this chapter, however, may be restored to the voting rolls upon the concurrence of the respective Department of Elections Administrative Director and Deputy Administrative Director,"

Section 10. Amend §1712, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety.

Section 11. Amend §1906, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"§1906. Absentee registration; procedure.

(a) Any person meeting the tests laid down in *1901 (b) of this title may register to vote by submitting a properly completed and signed Federal Post Card Application or Federal Mail Registration Application to the State Election Commissioner or to a county Department of Elections. Applications received fewer than 10 days prior to any election covered by this title shall be held and processed after that election.

(b) The Commissioner of Elections and the county Departments of Elections shall accept the Federal Post Card Application via facsimile transmission from persons meeting any of the requirements stated in §1901 (b) of this title. Applications received fewer than 10 days prior to any election covered by this title shall be held and processed after that election."

Section 12. Amend § 1907 Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety.

Section 13. Amend §2011 (a) Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking the second sentence of said section in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"(a) All recording shall be done by computer, typewriting, or by printing in longhand in black or blue ink."

Section 14. Amend Chapter 20, Subchapter I, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by adding the following section:

"§2014. Notification of disposition of a person's voter registration application and procedure for handling returned mail.

(a) Each county Department of Elections following receipt of a voter registration application shall conduct the necessary verification and inquiry and then shall mail to each applicant to whom the department has determined to be qualified to register to vote a notice by nonforwardable first class mail.

(b) Each county Department of Elections shall promptly notify in writing each person whose voter registration application has been rejected and shall state in such notice the specific reason(s) for such rejection.

(c) If the notice sent in accordance with subsection (a) above or any other correspondence mailed by the Commissioner of Elections or a county department of elections to a registered voter is returned as undeliverable, the department shall send an address verification request to the person at the address on their permanent registration record or to the address indicated by the U.S. Postal Service on the returned undeliverable notice or correspondence. The address verification request shall include a postage paid preaddressed return card. The person shall be asked to sign the return card and:

(1) Authorize cancellation of their Delaware voter registration because they are no longer permanent residents of the state of Delaware;

(2) Provide the address of their permanent place of residence if they still reside within Delaware;

(3) Or, certify that the address at which they are currently registered to vote is their correct address and place of permanent residence.

(d) The respective Department of Elections, upon receipt of the return card in accordance with the response shall:

(1) Upon authorization by the Board of Elections at a meeting of the Board of Elections of the county, remove the voter from the records of the Commissioner of Elections and the county Department of Elections;

(2) Update the person's voter registration record with the new address if it is within the Department's jurisdiction;

(3) Send the returned card and the person's voter registration record to the Department of Elections that has jurisdiction over the new address;.

(4) Or, update the person's voter registration record showing that the person has certified that the address on the permanent voter registration record is their permanent place of residence.

(e) If the person does not return the return card within 60 days of mailing or if the address verification request is returned as undeliverable, the person shall be transferred to `inactive status.'

(0 Persons classified as 'inactive' shall remain eligible to vote in any election conducted in accordance with this title. Upon presenting themselves at their polling place they shall affirm in writing under penalty of perjury on the form promulgated by the Commissioner of Elections the address of their permanent place of residence. If the person's permanent place of residence is different than the permanent place of residence shown on the voter's permanent record, the person shall be permitted to vote in accordance with §2047 of this title. The Commissioner of Elections shall print a separate poll list of the voters in 'inactive status' for each election district.

(g) A person properly removed from the voting rolls in accordance with this chapter must reregister in order to vote in any election conducted in accordance with this title. A person removed in error through the process described in this chapter, however, may be restored to the voting rolls upon the concurrence of the respective Department of Elections Administrative Director and Deputy Administrative Director.

(h) On or before June 1 of each year following a General Election, the Commissioner of Elections shall remove from the voting rolls any person who has been in 'inactive status' for two (2) consecutive general elections."

Section 15. Amend §2031 (a), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking the third sentence in said subsection in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"In the year of the general election, voter registration applications postmarked less than 20 days prior to the day of the general election shall be date-stamped upon receipt and held and processed after the General Election."

Section 16. Amend §2031, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by adding subsection (d) thereto.

"(d) The Departments of Elections shall accept the Federal Post Card Application and the Federal Mail Registration Application as applications to register to vote in all elections covered by this title. The departments shall process these applications as they would any other application submitted in accordance with this title."

Section 17. Amend §2033, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety.

Section 18. Amend §2034, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety.

Section 19. Amend §2041 (3), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsection in its entirety.

Section 20. Amend §2047, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"§2047. Change of address within the state.

Change of address or residence within Delaware shall not disqualify any person as a voter. A person who has changed their permanent place of residence within Delaware but who has not transferred their voter registration shall be permitted to vote at the polling place for their place of permanent residence on the day of the election.

(I) If the person who has changed their permanent place of residence appears at the polling place for their previous permanent place of residence, the election officers at that polling place shall complete the eligibility affidavit promulgated by the Commissioner of Elections and obtain the location of the person's correct polling place from the Department of Elections. The election officer shall place the completed eligibility affidavit in an envelope annotated with the location and address of the correct polling place, give the envelope to the person, direct the person to go to the polling place for their new permanent place of residence, and annotate the poll list to show that the person has been sent to another polling place.

(2) A person appearing at the correct polling place with an elgibility affidavit shall be permitted to vote upon showing proof of identify and address to the election officers and signing-a blank signature card. The election officer shall complete the appropriate section of the eligibility affidavit, and place the eligibility affidavit in the special envelope provided by the Department of Elections. If the person has also legally changed his/her name, the election officer shall also place a properly completed voter registration application for the person in the special envelope.

(3) A person registered to vote at another location within Delaware who appears at the polling place for their new permanent place of residence without having gone to the polling place of their former place of permanent residence shall affirm in writing the new address by completing and signing the eligibility affidavit promulgated by the Commissioner of Elections. The election officers

shall obtain authorization for the person to vote from the Department of Elections, complete the election officer section of the eligibility affidavit, and place the eligibility affidavit in the special envelope provided by the Department of Elections. If the person has also legally changed his/her name, the election officer shall also place a properly completed voter registration application for the person in the special envelope.

(4) Election officers shall enter the name, address, and voter registration number for persons authorized to vote under the provisions of this section on the poll list after the last name listed and on a blank signature card. The person shall sign the signature card and be permitted to vote. A person who has legally changed their name as well as their permanent place of residence shall sign both their old and new names.

(5) The Department of Elections upon receipt of the eligibility affidavit and the voter registration application following an election shall transfer the person's address in accordance with the transfer procedures elsewhere within this chapter."

Section 21. Amend §2048, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by sulking said section in its•entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"§2048. Change of name, new registration required;

(a) Any registered voter who legally changes his or her name by marriage or other legal means, shall be required to change their registration to their new name and authorize the transfer of the previous registration information, including their voting record to the new name. If the person has not changed their registration prior to an election covered by this title, they shall be permitted to vote provided:

(I) They present proof of their identity to the election officers at their polling place;

(2) Complete a voter registration application for their new name;

(3) And, sign the preprinted signature card with both their old and new names.

(b) Persons who arc registered to vote and have legally changed their name as well as their permanent place of residence shall be permitted to vote in accordance with §2047 above after completing a voter registration application for their new name and permanent place of residence and by signing a blank signature card with both their old and new names."

Section 22. Amend Chapter 20, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by adding subchapter VIII as follows:

"Subchapter VIII. Registration by governmental and private entities. §2060. Application.

Governmental and private entities may apply to the Commissioner of Elections to register people to vote on a continuing basis or during an organized voter registration drive. Such entities must apply at least 30 days prior to the start of the voter registration activity or the drive. Voter registration under the provision of this subchapter may not be conducted during the period that voter registration is closed prior to a general election. The Commissioner of Elections shall promulgate the applicatoin form that such entities shall use in applying for permission to register voters on a continuing basis or to conduct an organized voter registration drive. The application shall include as a minimum:

(1 ) Name and address of the governmental or private entity. In the case of a continuing activity the location(s) where the voter registration activity will take place.

(2) The name, address and telephone number of the chief official of the entity.

(3) The date that the voter registration activity shall commence and, in the case of an organized voter registration drive, the inclusive dates of the proposed drive.

(4) The target audience and/or scope of the drive or continuing voter registration activity.

(5) The name, address and telephone number of the person responsible for the voter registration activity or drive.

(6) The names of the individuals who shall serve as temporary registrars at the voter registration activity or during the voter registration drive.

(7) Attestations by the chief official of the entity that it has authorized the voter registration activity or drive, assumes responsibility for the voter registration activity or drive, shall insure that only individuals trained as prescribed by the Commissioner of Elections shall serve as temporary registrars, and shall insure that all individuals involved in planning, organizing and conducting the voter registration drive shall adhere to the Delaware Code, Title 15 and such regulations promulgated by the Commissioner of Elections.

(2) The number of applications requested.

(3) The date for training -- must be the first Thursday of a month or as otherwise arranged with the Commissioner of Elections.

§2061. Training.

(a) The Commissioner of Elections shall develop a program for training individuals as temporary registrars as well as those persons responsible for planning, organizing and operating a voter registration activity or drive. Training shall be conducted by personnel from the office of the Commissioner of Elections. Individuals who complete the training required by the Commissioner of Elections. Individuals who complete the training required by the Commissioner shall be certified as a temporary registrar for a period of one (1) year or for the duration of the proposed voter registration drive whichever is shorter. Training shall be offered the first Thursday of each month.

(b) The Commissioner of Elections shall develop a program of continuing education and periodic recertification for those persons involved in a continuing voter registration activity.

§2062. Approval.

The Commissioner shall approve all applications, under §2060, provided:

(a) The application is received more than 30 days prior to the start of the voter registration activity or proposed voter registration drive.

(b) The requested training date is prior to the start of the proposed voter registration activity or drive.

(c) The applying entity has not violated the provisions of this subchapter, title or regulations promulgated by the Commissioner of Elections for conducting voter registration on a continuing basis or during a previous organized voter registration drive.

§2063. Pickup and Return of Materials.

(a) The entity shall pick-up the voter registration applications, forms and other required materials as directed by the Commissioner of Elections.

(a) An entity conducting a voter registration drive shall deliver all completed applications, unused applications, voided or damaged applications, completed forms, and all excess materials to the location directed by the Commissioner of Elections within 5 days of the completion of the drive except as required elsewhere in this section.

(a) An entity operating a continuing voter registration activity shall deliver all completed applications and any voided or damaged applications at least once every five (5) working days to the location directed by the Commissioner of Elections except as required elsewhere in this section.

(b) The entity shall return any application completed prior to the close of eligibility for a primary election or prior to the close of voter registration before a general election no later than 4:30 p.m. on those respective days to the location(s) directed by the Commissioner of Elections.

(c) The Commissioner may fine any entity that fails to comply with the requirements of this section up to $1,000 and deny them permission to conduct an organized voter registration drive or otherwise be involved in the voter registration process for a period of up to 5 years.

§2064. Procedures.

(a) Entities conducting voter registration shall account for the disposition of every application provided by the respective Department of Elections or the office of the Commissioner of Elections by application number. The Commissioner of Elections shall promulgate procedures that entities shall use to document the disposition of voter registration applications.

(b) The temporary registrar shall sign each application he/she completes in the "agency representative" block.

(c) Application date shall be left blank. The application date shall be the date the applications are received in the respective Department of Elections or the office of the Commissioner of Elections as required in this chapter.

(d) All applications completed or issued by the organization shall be annotated by the temporary registrar with the code provided by the Commissioner of Elections.

(e) All applications shall be completed in block letters in blue or black ink.

(a) Unsigned applications shall be rejected as incomplete.

(a) The person applying to register to vote shall show the temporary registrar proof of address and identity as required by the Commissioner of Elections.

(f) An entity, temporary registrar or other person involved in a voter registration activity or drive shall not:

(I) Seek to influence an applicant's political preference or party registration;

(2) Make any statement to an applicant or take any action, the purpose or effect of which is to discourage the applicant from registering to vote;Offer, promise, or pay any money or other valuable thing as compensation, inducement or reward to anyone eligible to register to vote for registering or abstaining from registering to vote;

(3) Deny anyone who is eligible to register to vote but refuses to register to vote any services available through the entity.

(i) The entity conducting the voter registration activity or drive must inform each person who applies to register to vote through their activity or drive that they are not registered to vote until the respective Department of Elections has verified and accepted the application.

§2065. Application date.

Upon receipt of the applications at a county Department of Elections or at the office of the Commissioner of Elections, the applications shall be stamped by the agency's time stamp. The date the applications are received in the office of the Commissioner of Elections or at a county Department of Elections is the date of the application."

Section 23. Amend §3122, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking the words "Department of Registration" as they appear therein and substituting in lieu thereof the words "Department of Elections".

Section 24. Amend §3125 (1), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsection in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"(I) A flag or poster of suitable size for lettering thereon in at least 3 inch letters with the words POLLING PLACE on both sides;"

Section 25. Amend §4911(a), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsection in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"(a) During the hours that a primary, general or special election is open, there shall be displayed at or near the entrance of each polling place so as to be readily visible a flag or poster bearing the words POLLING PLACE. The flag or poster shall be provided by the appropriate Department of Elections."

Section 26. Amend §4941 (2), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsection in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"(2) A person registered to vote in the state of Delaware who has moved from an address or residence located within one election district within the state of Delaware to another address or residence within another elections district with the state of Delaware shall be permitted to vote at the polling place for their new residence or address in accordance with the procedures contained in §2047 of this title."

Section 27. Amend §5506, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"§5506. Affidavit of eligibility on voucher envelope.

The Department of Elections shall place a white label containing the absentee voter's county of residence, name, address, election district and representative district in the upper left corner of the voucher envelope. There shall be printed on the face of each voucher envelope a self-administered affidavit in substantially the following form:

I do, solemnly swear (affirm) that I am a resident of the state of Delaware and that my voting address as it appears on the label on this envelope. I also do solemnly swear (affirm) under penalty of perjury that I have not received or accepted, or offered to receive or accept any money or other item of value as compensation,

inducement or reward for the giving or withholding of a vote at this election, nor that I am acting under duress of threat of duress or harm.

Date Signature

Section 28. Amend §5523, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

15523. One absentee request to cover all election for members of the armed forces and certain other electors, acceptance of the Federal Post Card Application, acceptance of facsimile transmissions of the Federal Post Card Application.

(a) Any qualified elector who has applied for an absentee ballot because he/she qualifies under any of the reasons set forth in §5502(1) or §5502(2) of this title shall qualify for an absentee ballot in any election conducted under the provisions of this title during the calendar year in which he has qualified for an absentee ballot in any election.

(b) The receipt of a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) from any person eligible to.use the FPCA for an absentee ballot who is not registered to vote in Delaware but is eligible to register to vote in Delaware shall serve as an application to register to vote as well as an application for an absentee ballot.

(c) The county department of elections may accept a facsimile transmission of the Federal Post Card Application as an application for an absentee ballot and/or an application to register to vote."

Section 29. Effective Date.

This act shall be effective October 1, 1995, unless otherwise stated herein.

Approved July 10, 1995