An Act, farther to secure the free exercise of the right to vote at elections.
SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met, That if it shall so happen after that by reason of the presence of any military force at or near the place of holding an election in this State, under tile provisions of Chapter 18, of the Revised Code, electors duly qualified by the Constitution and Laws of this State to vote at said place at said election, shall be prevented from, or interfered with, in casting their votes by military force, or requirement of oaths unknown to said Constitution and Laws, any number of electors, not less than five, shall have the right to withdraw from the said place within the voting district where such prevention or interference shall take place and having there, by a majority of the electors present, selected a duly qualified elector of said district, who shall be a freeholder, to act as Inspector, to deliver to him there their respective ballots; and record the name of the voter upon a list to be kept by him, for that purpose, and immediately write upon each ballot the name of the person who delivered the same the same to him- the said Inspector having first administered to each person offering to vote on the ground of his being between the age of twenty-one and twenty-two years, an oath or affirmation in the following words; that is to say: "You do solemnly sweat (or affirm) that you are of the age of twenty-one years; and not arrived at the age of twenty-two years, and that you at this time reside in this Hundred, and that you have not voted, and will not vote on this day at any other place in this or any other Hundred, and that you have resided in this County one month, this State one year next before this election;" and to every person offering to vote on the ground of having paid a tax, and being otherwise qualified, according to the Constitution, the following: "You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that you are of the age of twenty-two years, and that you at this time reside in this Hundred, and that you have not voted, and will not vote on this day at any other place in this or any other Hundred, and that you have resided in this County one month and in this State one year next before this election and that you have within two years paid a county tax which was assessed at least six months before this election;" and also the further oath that he has been hindered or prevented from casting his vote at the regular place of holding the election, by military interference, or by the requirement of oaths unauthorized by the Constitution and Laws of this State.
SECTION 2. And be it further enacted, That the polls authorized to be held by the preceding Section, shall be held at the place where they are opened, unless it be impracticable to hold them there, in which event they shall be adjourned to some other place, or places,(if necessary) in the election district where they are opened, and there held, and shall be kept open until five o’clock in the afternoon, when the Inspector shall close them. As Soon as such polls are closed, the Inspector holding them, first ascertained the number of ballots cast, and for whom and for what office the votes were given, and made a certificate thereof, shall seal up the, ballots received by him in a box or envelope, and keep them safely, together with the list of the names of the electors who have deposited their ballots, with him, until the time of the meeting of the Board of Canvass provided for by the Chapter aforesaid, when he shall appear before the said Board, with the said ballots and list of voters and his certificate as aforesaid, and deliver his said certificate to the said Board with an affidavit made, by him upon the same, that it contains a true and faithful statement of the number of ballots received by him as aforesaid, the names of the electors who cast them, the number of votes for the different persons voted for, and that at the said poll ,held by him, he did not, knowingly, receive ballot of any person not a duly qualified voter within his election district, according to the Constitution and Laws of the State Of Delaware, nor did he refuse to receive the ballot of any person so qualified, and who had been prevented from voting at the regular place of voting by Military force or the requirement of an 'oath unauthorized by the Constitution and Laws of the State of Delaware; and that he determined every matter that came before him, and performed every act and duty required of him by law touching the election hold by him, truly, faithfully, and impartially, according to the best of his skill and judgment.
SECTION 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the Board of Canvass to receive the said certificate, and in ascertaining and certifying the state of the election under the provisions of the Chapter aforesaid, to take into consideration the number of ballots certified by said Inspector to have been received by him and for whom and what office the votes were given, and give said certificate the same force and effect, and it shall have the same force and effect as a certificate of the election officers at any of the regular places of holding the election; and the votes given shall be reckoned among the number of votes given in the election district where they were received by the said Inspector in the same manner as if they had been given at the regular place of voting in said district: Provided always, however, That the said Board shall be, and they are hereby required to hear and determine challenges of the right of any person, who delivered his ballot to the said Inspector and reject any ballot if the person who cast the same had not a right to vote under the Constitution and Laws of this State, either by want of qualification, or by reason of his having voted at any other place in the State where he as entitled to vote on the same day. Such of the said ballots, so received by the Inspector, as are not rejected by the Board of Canvass, and also the list of voters, and the certificate aforesaid, shall be deposited by the said Board the regular ballot-box of the election district where they were cast, and the said box shall then be resealed by the presiding officer of the Board of Canvass. The said Board shall also have the power to examine, on oath, the said Inspector, touching any matter connected with the holding of the election by him, and shall have power, if it appear to them that said election Was not fairly held by any Inspector, to reject said certificate, and throw the vote returned by him as aforesaid.
SECTION 4. And be it further enacted, That if it shall be apparent to a Board of Canvass that any interference with the performance of their duties Under Chapter 18 aforesaid, and this act, will be attempted by military force, or, if after they have met, any such interference shall be attempted, they shall have power to meet at any other place within their county to perform their said duties. And further, if any member of a Board of Canvass, or any Inspector created by virtue of this act, shall be prevented, by reason of such interference from attending the Meeting of the Board; or if the Board, being met, shall be prevented by such interference from performing the duties incumbent on them, it shall be the duty of the said Board to adjourn to meet at some, other time, and other place (if necessary), to perform their duties under the laws of this State, and so to adjourn from time to time until such duties can be performed. The duty of attendance upon said Board, on the part of an inspector created by authority of this act, and the penalties upon him for not appearing, shall be the same as in the case of the Inspectors regularly elected according to law; but no such Inspector shall be a member of the Board of Canvass.
SECTION 5. And be it further enacted, That nothing herein contained shall limit the voting places to two in an election district, but, the Emergency contemplated above arising, as many different polls may be held as there are numbers of voters of five or more, who under the circumstances aforesaid withdraw from the regular place of holding the election for, the purpose of casting, their ballots without intimidation or interference.
SECTION 6. And be ii further enacted, That each Inspector created by authority of this act, shall have power to appoint a Clerk to aid him in the discharge of such duties as are clerical, and shall administer to him before he enters upon the discharge of the duties to be assigned to him, an oath or affirmation in these words: "You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that as Clerk of this election you will not use or assent to any falsehood, fraud or deceit, and that you will keep the polls and perform all your duties truly, faithfully, and impartially, so help you God (or so you solemnly affirm)." The Inspectors and Clerks shall receive the same compensation as Inspectors and Clerks elected and appointed under the present election law.
SECTION 7. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the Clerks of the respective House of this General Assembly to cause a copy of this act, duly certified by them, to be printed forthwith, and one thousand impressions thereof to be circulated throughout this State for public information and observance- one of which shall be actually delivered to each of the Sheriffs of this State, or left at his office.
Passed at Dover, November 2, 1864.