OF ELECTIONS IN WILMINGTON HUNDRED.
AN ACT creating a Department of Elections for the City of Wilmington.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:
SECTION 1. That for the objects and purposes hereinafter set forth the Governor of the State of Delaware shall in the manner and at the times and for the terms set forth in Section 2 of this act appoint three persons of the City of Wilmington, who shall constitute a department of Elections for the said City of Wilmington, and with the powers and duties prescribed in the sections following.
SECTION 2. That the terms of office of the present members of the Department of Elections for the City of Wilmington, as the same was constituted pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 39, Volume XIX, Laws of Delaware, shall not be vacated, but the said officers shall continue during the original term thereof, and said members shall during the continuance of their respective terms be members of the Department of Elections for the City of Wilmington created by this act. At the expiration of the term of office of the said member which shall be the first to terminate and biennially thereafter the place of the retiring member shall be filled by appointment by the Governor for the term of six years. No person shall be eligible to appointment as a member of said Department of Elections who is not a citizen of the United States of America and a resident in the said city for which he is appointed, and who has not resided therein for a term of five years next preceding his appointment. No member of said Department of Elections shall hold or be a candidate for any elective office during his membership in said department, nor until the expiration of six months after he shall have ceased to be a member of said department. When any vacancy occurs in said department by or from any cause whatsoever the Governor aforesaid shall fill the unexpired term by appointment, but at no time shall all the members of said department be of the same political faith and opinion.
Each of said members shall hereafter before entering upon his duties and within one month from the time of his appointment take and subscribe and file in the office of the Clerk of the Peace of the county wherein he resides an oath or affirmation that he will perform the duties of his office with fidelity and impartiality. The members of the Department of Elections shall meet and organize said Department of Elections, by this act constituted, by selecting one of their number to be President. Each member of the Department of Elections shall receive as compensation for his services in any year in which there is held a general or special election a salary of five hundred dollars, said compensation to be paid as hereinafter provided.
SECTION 3. The duties of the members of the Department of Elections, shall be as follows:
I. They shall, on or before the first day of June next, preceding the time of the first registration held under the provisions of this , and in every sixth year thereafter, on or before the first day of June, divide the city into as many election districts as they shall deem necessary, and shall establish the boundaries thereof. Provided, that election district shall contain as near as may be, not more than three hundred, nor less than one hundred qualified voters. And further, provided, that each of said election districts shall be entirely within the boundaries of one representative district. And on or before the first day of June, A. D. nineteen hundred, and biennially thereafter, said Department of Elections may divide such of the election districts, and such only as, by the election last preceding such division, shall be found to contain a greater number of voters than can conveniently vote therein. They shall also designate each of said election districts by appropriate titles or distinctions.
II. They shall have power to dismiss any Registrar at any time and supply his place with another person. They may also employ a clerk, counsel and such other assistants as, in the judgment of the members of said Department of Elections, shall be necessary and proper the faithful performance by it of the duties by this imposed; provided, the expense thereof shall not exceed fifteen hundred dollars in any one year in which the general election is held, which said sum shall not include the compensation of members of the Department of Elections and Registrars, to be paid upon warrants of the President of the Department of Elections, in the same manner as is provided for the payment of the legal compensation of members of said Department of Elections.
III. They shall, hereafter, appoint all registrars in the city of Wilmington, and shall make all necessary removals of registration officers, and fill all vacancies which from any cause occur.
IV. They shall in the month of June, in each year in which a general election is held, appoint for each election district in the City of Wilmington three capable persons, who shall be voters and residents in the election district, for which they shall be appointed, who shall be the registration officers of the election district for which they are appointed; one of whom shall be designated as "Registrar," and the other two "Assistant Registrars," and not more than two of them shall be of the same political faith ; provided that the total number of registration officers in each representative district, shall be divided as equally as possible between the two leading political parties, as the same shall be determined upon by the Department of Elections at the time of making the appointments. And further, for each appointment accredited to any political party under this section the city executive committee of such political party shall furnish the Department of Elections on or before the first day of June of the year in which said appointment is to be made, a list of three names of properly qualified persons, from which list the Department of Elections shall make its appointments.
Provided, however, that if the said lists of names are not furnished as aforesaid, then and in that event the Department of Elections shall appoint some suitable person, or persons, of such political party having all the qualifications provided by this section.
Provided, however, that in the case of the Registration officers to be appointed in this present year, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, the appointment of the said Registration officers shall be made some time between Saturday, the eleventh day of June, and Saturday, the twenty-fifth day of June in said year ; and, provided further, that the lists of names to be furnished by the city executive committee from which the appointments of such Registration officers shall be made, with regard to those to be appointed in the year aforesaid shall be furnished not later than Saturday, the eleventh day of June in the year aforesaid.
The terms of office of such Registration officers shall begin on the first Tuesday in July next after appointment and shall continue for two years thereafter, and until their successors shall be duly chosen and qualified, unless sooner removed as provided in this act.
V. They shall also when appointing Registration officers for the several election districts of the City of Wilmington at the same time appoint in each election district in the said city one capable person, who shall be a voter and resident in the election district for which he shall be appointed, to be "Alternate Registrar" for the said election district. The term of office of said "Alternate Registrar" shall be the same as that of the registrar, and whenever the registrar provided for by this act shall be incapable from any cause whatsoever of performing the duties required of him by the laws of this State, the alternate registrar in the same election district shall act in his stead, and while acting shall possess all the powers and do and perform all the duties of a registrar.
VI. But nothing herein contained shall authorize or empower the alternate registrar to act at any time when there is a registrar of the election district able and willing and present to act. If any registration officer or alternate registrar shall remove from the election district for which he shall be appointed, or shall cease to be a voter therein, his office shall thereupon become vacant.
VII. If any vacancy or vacancies should occur in the office of registrar, assistant registrar or alternate registrar, before the expiration of such term, from any cause whatsoever, the said Department of Elections shall appoint some suitable person or persons to fill such vacancy or vacancies who shall serve for the residue of such unexpired term or terms, who shall possess the same qualifications and be qualified in the same manner, possess the same powers and perform the same duties as the original appointee or appointees. Each registrar, assistant registrar and alternate registrar before entering upon the duties of his office, shall take and subscribe before the Clerk of the Peace of the county in which he shall reside the following oath or affirmation which the said Clerk of the Peace is hereby authorized to administer:
"I …………………………………….. residing in …………………………………… Election District of ………………………….. Representative District in ………………………………. County, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Delaware, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of registrar (assistant registrar or alternate registrar) for ……………………… Election District in …………………………….. Representative District in ……………………… County faithfully, honestly, fairly, impartially and according to the best of my ability ; that I am a citizen of the United States and of the State of Delaware, and am not a candidate for any office to be voted for by the election district for which I am appointed registrar (assistant registrars or alternate registrar) and that I am a qualified voter in said election district."
VIII. Should the said registrar, assistant registrars or either of them or alternate registrar after taking said oath and before entering upon the active duties of said office become a candidate for any office to be voted for by the electors of the election district for which he is appointed registrar, assistant registrar or alternate registrar, the said office shall ipso facto become vacant and be filled by the appointment of another person to the same. After any registrar, assistant registrar or alternate registrar shall have entered upon the active duties of his office he shall thereby become ineligible to any office to be voted for at the next ensuing general election.
SECTION 4. Each and every person appointed as aforesaid to act as registrar, assistant registrar or alternate registrar shall qualify as such registrar, assistant registrar or alternate registrar by taking and subscribing the oath or affirmation prescribed in the preceding section within ten days after being notified of his appointment and shall perform the duties of the office for the time for which he was appointed, unless he shall become disqualified by sickness or otherwise. But any registrar, assistant registrar or alternate registrar, who shall be appointed to fill a vacancy, shall qualify forthwith. And if any registrar, assistant registrar or alternate registrar, who being appointed either for a full term or to fill a vacancy, shall refuse to qualify as aforesaid, or having qualified, shall fail or refuse to perform any of the duties of said office, he shall forfeit and pay to the State a fine of one hundred dollars, upon conviction thereof by indictment in the Court of General Sessions of the county where such offence was committed.
The Department of Elections shall deliver a certificate of appointment to whomsoever it shall appoint and who shall be sworn into office as registrar, said certificate to be in such form as shall be prescribed by such Department of Elections, specifying the election district in and for which the person to whom the same is issued is appointed to serve, and the date of the expiration of his term of office. The Department of Elections shall have full power and authority to remove any of the registration officers appointed by them as aforesaid for want of requisite qualification or cause, but in either of such case such removal, unless made while the registrars are actually on duty, on a day of registration, and for improper conduct as a registration officer, shall only be made after notice in writing to the officer sought to be removed, which notice shall set forth clearly and distinctly the reasons for removal. Any person appointed to fill any vacancy shall serve for the unexpired term of the person whose office he is appointed to fill.
The registration officers during the time they hold such office shall be exempt from the performance of military and jury duty, and no person who by the laws of the State is exempt from jury duty shall be required to serve as registration officer.
SECTION 5. The said Department of Elections may rent some suitable and convenient place in the said city, and fit up the same for an office for the use of the said Department of Elections at a yearly rental not to exceed three hundred dollars, to be paid upon the warrants of the President of the Department of Elections, in the same manner as is provided for the payment of the legal compensation of members of said Department of Elections.
SECTION 6. The legal compensation of all members of the Department of Elections shall be paid quarterly, on the last days of March, June, September and December, by the State Treasurer out of any money belonging to the State, not otherwise appropriated.
SECTION 7. If any member of the Department of Elections, of whom any duty is required in this act shall be guilty of any willful neglect of such duty, or of any corrupt or fraudulent conduct or practice in the execution of the same, he shall, on conviction thereof, be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than two years, or by fine of not more than two hundred dollars, or both.
SECTION 8. It is hereby made the special duty of the Department of Elections to notify the attorney General of all violations under this act.
SECTION 9. All acts and parts of acts supplied by or inconsistent with this act are hereby repealed.
Approved May 20, A. D. 1898.