CHAPTER 427

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 547

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

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

Section 1. Amend § 5504 (b)(3), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsection in its entirety.

Section 2. Amend § 5504(b)(4), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking the phrase “A white envelope marked ‘RETURN ENVELOPE,’” in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the phrase “An envelope marked ‘BALLOT ENVELOPE,’”.

Section 3. Amend § 5505(b), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof:

“(b) Upon each envelope provided pursuant to this section shall appear:

(1) The words ‘BALLOT ENVELOPE’;

(2) An alpha-numeric symbol and/or bar-code for use in accounting for the absentee ballot

(3) Identification information for the elector receiving the absentee ballot, including: the name of the county within which the elector is domiciled, the elector's name, the elector's address, the elector's Election District, the elector's Representative District, and such other information as the Department may require; and

(4) The following oath:

‘I do solemnly swear (affirm) that to the best of my knowledge I am eligible to vote in the State of Delaware and that my voting address is 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 or threat of duress or harm.’

(5) If the voter is voting under the provisions of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Voting Act, the oath shall be as provided by that Act as amended.

(6) The voter’s signature.

Section 4. Amend § 5507(2), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsection in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof:

“(2) The elector shall confirm that the information about him/her on the ballot envelope is correct and then sign the self-administered oath.

Section 5. Amend § 5507(3), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsection in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof:

(3) The elector shall then seal the BALLOT ENVELOPE.”.

Section 6. Amend § 5507(4), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking the word “return” wherever it appears therein and substituting in lieu thereof the word “ballot”.

Section 7. Amend § 5508(c), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking the word “return” wherever it appears therein and substituting in lieu thereof the word “ballot”.

Section 8. Amend § 5509(a), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking the word “return” wherever it appears therein and substituting in lieu thereof the word “ballot”.

Section 9. Amend § 5509(a)(1), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsection in its entirety.

Section 10. Amend § 5510 (4), Title 15 of the Delaware Code by inserting a new subsection (f) to read as follows:

“(f) A ballot that a team determines cannot be read by the tabulating equipment or which the tabulating equipment rejects, shall be duplicated as provided for in § 5510A.”.

Section 11. Amend § 5510, Title 15 of the Delaware Code by inserting a new § 5510A to read as follows:

“A. Preparing Absentee Ballots for Tabulation.

(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter or regulations adopted by the Department, a Department of Elections may open Absentee Ballots in public meetings beginning the Friday before the day of the Election in order to prepare them for tabulation. The Department shall notify each party on the ballot that they may have challengers at the meetings during which the Department opens the absentee ballots. The challengers may challenge ballots as provided elsewhere in this title.

(2) The Department shall appoint teams composed of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans to open and duplicate ballots.

(3) The teams shall open ballots by Election District, check them off against the list of absentee voters, duplicate ballots that the team determines that the tabulating equipment cannot read and then secure the opened and duplicated ballots along with the envelopes in a Carrier Envelope. The teams shall record the number of the Carrier Envelope and the Election District Number on a log sheet that it shall also secure in the same Carrier Envelope.

(4) Teams shall duplicate ballots by marking them according to the voter’s intent as shown on the ballot marked by the voter. If a team cannot determine a voter’s intent, they consult the Administrative Director and Deputy Administrative Director for advice and guidance.

(5) When duplicating ballots, the teams shall assign the same unique identifier to the ballot that they duplicate and the duplicated ballot. After the team has duplicated ballots for an Election District, the team shall put the ballots that the team duplicated in a separate envelope and put it in the Carrier Envelope for the Election District and the team shall put the duplicated ballots with the ballots that the Department shall tabulate on the day of the Election.

(6) The Department shall secure the Carrier Envelopes in locked cabinets until opened in a subsequent public meeting to insert additional ballots or to tabulate the ballots on the day of the Election.”.

Approved July 10, 2006