CHAPTER 315

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 164

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 15 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO WRITE-IN CANDIDATES

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

Section 1. Amend Title 15 of the Delaware Code by adding a new chapter 34 to read as follows:

“CHAPTER 34. WRITE-IN CANDIDATES

§ 3401. Write-in candidates in general. Except as otherwise provided in this title, if the name of the person for whom a voter desires to vote does not appear on a general or special election ballot, the voter may write in the name of that person.

§ 3402. Write-in candidates for a general election.

(a) Superior Court shall only count a write-in vote for a person who has declared himself/herself a write-in candidate for the office for which he/she was written-in in accordance with this chapter. Superior Court shall count a write-in vote for a candidate on a general or special election ballot if the write-in vote is for the office for which the person is a candidate.

(b) Superior Court shall account for write-in votes cast for other than declared write-in candidates as Other Write-in Votes.

(c) A person shall declare himself/herself a write-in candidate for an office by filing a Write-in Candidate Declaration with the Commissioner of Elections for a statewide office or to the Department of Elections for the county in which the election is to be held for General Assembly, county or City of Wilmington offices no later than 4:30 p.m. on September 30 in the year of a general election. If September 30 is a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the declaration shall be filed no later than 4:30 p.m. on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or holiday. If the boundary of a General Assembly office includes more than one county, the person shall file his/her Write-in Candidate Declaration with the Department of Elections for the county in which he/she is a registered voter.

(d) The Commissioner of Elections or the Department of Elections for a county shall determine whether a person who has filed a Write-in Candidate Declaration is eligible to be a candidate for the office for which he/she has filed the declaration.

(e) A person shall not declare himself/herself a write-in candidate if he/she is a candidate on the general election ballot.

(f) A person shall not declare himself/herself a write-in candidate for more than one office. The filing of a declaration for another office prior to the declaration deadline established in this chapter shall make any previous declaration null and void.

(g) Once a person has withdrawn as a candidate or write-in candidate for an office, he/she shall not declare himself/herself a write-in candidate for the same office in the same year.

(h) A declared write-in candidate shall comply with the requirements in Chapter 80 of this Title.

(i) A declared write-in candidate may withdraw his/her candidacy by filing a withdrawal form with the office at which he/she filed his/her Write-in Candidate Declaration no later than 15 days prior to the date of the election.

§ 3403. Forms. The Commissioner of Elections in collaboration with the Departments of Elections for the counties shall promulgate the Write-in Candidate Declaration and the withdrawal form.

§ 3404. Write-in Candidate Lists. Each Department of Elections shall issue at least two copies of the list of declared write-in candidates for each office on a ballot in the county to the Election Officers at each Election District in the county. The Election Officers shall post one copy of the list in a conspicuous location in the Polling Place.

§ 3405. Write-in candidates for a special election.

Section 3402 of this chapter shall apply for a Special Election except that a person shall file his/her Write-in Candidate Declaration no later than the 8th day prior to the date of the election and may not withdraw his/her declaration.”

Section 2. Amend Title 15, § 4972 of the Delaware Code by inserting as sub-sections (8) and (9) the following:

“(8) The misspelled, incomplete or minor variation of the name of a declared write-in candidate for an office shall be counted if the name as written bears a reasonable resemblance to the declared candidate's name and no other declared write-in candidate for the office has a name so similar to the name as written as to leave a reasonable doubt as to the voter's intention. Additionally, writing in the last name of a declared write-in candidate shall constitute a valid vote unless there are two or more candidates for that office with the same last name.

(9) Writing in the name of either candidate for President or Vice-President shall constitute a valid vote for the slate.”

Section 3. Amend Title 15, § 4976 of the Delaware Code by striking subsection (c) in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

“(c) Two clerks shall account on separate Write-in Vote Tally Sheets for each write-in vote for an office for a candidate on the ballot for that office, a declared write-in candidate for the office or for all other write-in votes for the office as Other Write-in Candidates.”

Approved July 9, 2008