CHAPTER 50

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 148

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 295, VOLUME 65, LAWS OF DELAWARE, AS AMENDED, BEING AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT TO AMEND THE TOWN CHARTER OF BETHANY BEACH," TO AUTHORIZE THE TOWN COUNCIL TO PROVIDE, BY ORDINANCE, FOR THE COUNTING OF ABSENTEE BALLOTS PRIOR TO THE CLOSING OF THE POLLS, PROVIDED THAT THE COUNT OF SUCH ABSENTEE BALLOTS BE KEPT SECRET UNTIL SUCH TIME THE POLLS ARE CLOSED.

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

WHEREAS, the number of voters in the Town of Bethany Beach elections casting their vote by absentee ballot has increased significantly over the years to the point that it takes several hours to count such ballots after the closure of the polls; and

WHEREAS, Delaware statutes governing general elections allow absentee ballots to be counted prior to the closure of the polls; and

WHEREAS, the Town of Bethany Beach desires to have the ability to count absentee ballots prior to the closing of the polls, provided that the count of such ballots are kept secret until announced by the inspectors, judges, and/or clerks after the closing of the polls; and

WHEREAS, the counting of the absentee ballots prior to the closing of the polls will allow for more efficient tallying of each candidate’s votes, and thus allow the total votes for each candidate to be announced in a more timely manner upon the close of the polls.

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 1. Amend § 5.4.5 of Chapter 295, Volume 65, Laws of Delaware, by deleting the period at the end of the sentence for paragraph (d) and inserting, in place thereof, the following:

“, and to provide that at any time after all absentee ballots have been voted, such absentee ballots may be counted, provided that such count is kept secret until the closing of the polls.”.

Section 2. This Bill shall become effective immediately upon the Governor’s signature.

Approved June 19, 2003