TITLE 15

Elections

Primary Elections and Nominations of Candidates

CHAPTER 31. PRIMARY ELECTIONS

Subchapter I. General Provisions


The following schedule shall apply for all candidates:

(1) Notification of candidacy shall be on or before 12:00 noon of the second Tuesday in July.

(2) Such notification of candidacy may be withdrawn on or before 4:30 p.m. on the first Friday after the second Tuesday in July. In the event the first Friday after the second Tuesday in July is a legal holiday, then the final day to withdraw shall be the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday or a legal holiday.

(3) Primary elections for all political parties shall be conducted on the second Tuesday after the first Monday in September.

(4) After the deadline for notification of candidacy set forth in paragraph (1) of this section and before the deadline for withdrawal set forth in paragraph (2) of this section, a candidate may change that candidate's own candidacy and become a candidate for a different office in the coming election. Such change of candidacy shall be deemed to be irrevocable withdrawal from candidacy for the first announced office.

20 Del. Laws, c. 393, § 18; 22 Del. Laws, c. 285, § 1; 27 Del. Laws, c. 66, § 1; Code 1915, § 1692; 40 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 7; Code 1935, § 1780; 45 Del. Laws, Sp. Sess., c. 3, § 1; 45 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 5; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 3102; 50 Del. Laws, c. 426, § 1; 57 Del. Laws, c. 241, § 2; 58 Del. Laws, c. 258, §§ 1, 2; 58 Del. Laws, c. 368, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 712, § 2; 61 Del. Laws, c. 418, § 9; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 343, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 269, §§ 2-4.;

The nominations of candidates by all major political parties for all offices to be decided at a general election shall be conducted by direct primary. All such primaries shall be conducted by the county departments of election under the applicable provisions of this title.

60 Del. Laws, c. 712, § 1; 61 Del. Laws, c. 418, § 10.;

The primary elections for major political parties shall be held in the various districts on the same day as elsewhere provided in this title.

20 Del. Laws, c. 393, § 2; 27 Del. Laws, c. 66, § 1; Code 1915, § 1679; Code 1935, § 1770; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 3103; 50 Del. Laws, c. 426, § 7; 57 Del. Laws, c. 241, § 3; 75 Del. Laws, c. 232, § 30.;

(a) Filing fees for primary election for candidates for any office of any political party shall be set in the following manner:

(1) Candidates for statewide office shall be set by the state executive committee of the respective political party;

(2) Candidates for county or countywide office and members of the General Assembly shall be set by the county executive committee of the respective political party of the county in which the contest is to be held;

(3) Candidates for municipal office for any municipality which holds its election at the time of the general election shall be set by the city executive committee of the respective political party of the city in which the contest is to be held.

(b) The filing fee shall not be greater than 1% of the total salary for the entire term of office for which the candidate is filing except for candidates who fulfill the requirements of subsections (d) and (e) of this section.

(c) The state chair, county chair and city chairs of each political party shall notify the State Election Commissioner and the respective departments of elections of the amount of the filing fee set pursuant to this section. The notification shall be no later than July 1 of each general election year.

(d) A person who establishes indigency to the Commissioner may, in lieu of the filing fee, present a nomination petition by the deadline for notification of candidacy, in a form prescribed by the State Election Commissioner, bearing the signatures, in the manner hereinafter prescribed, of 1% of the persons who, at the time such petition is presented, are registered voters in all of the election districts in which such candidate would appear on the ballot. Each person who signs a nomination petition shall sign but 1 such petition for each office to be filled, and must be a registered member of the party designated in such petition; provided however, that where there are to be elected 2 or more persons to the same office, each signer may sign petitions for as many candidates for such office, as, and no more than, the signer could vote for at the succeeding election. Each signer of such petition shall declare the signer's street address, the date of signature and that the signer is a registered voter of the county and of the party therein named. No nomination petition shall be circulated before the year in which the election is to take place, and no signature shall be counted unless it bears a date affixed not earlier than January 1 of the year in which the election is to take place. Said nomination petition may be on 1 or more sheets, and different sheets must be used for signers who reside in different counties. If more than 1 sheet is used, they shall be bound together when offered for filing, and each sheet shall be numbered consecutively. Each sheet shall bear the affidavit of the person responsible for circulating the petition that to the best of affiant's knowledge and belief, the signers are registered voters in election districts in which such candidate would appear on the ballot and members of the political party of the candidate.

(e) For purposes of this section, a person is "indigent" only if such person is receiving benefits under the Supplemental Security Income Program for Aged, Blind and Disabled under Subchapter XVI of Chapter 7 of Title 42 of the United States Code [42 U.S.C. § 1381 et seq.], or if the Commissioner determines that such person meets the income and resources tests for such benefits under 42 U.S.C. § 1382(a), as applied to Delaware residents. The Commissioner shall require any person who seeks to be treated as indigent under this section to provide such information under oath necessary to determine any claim of indigence, including copies of such person's personal income tax returns and may require the person to authorize the Commissioner to receive information from banks, the Social Security Administration, credit reporting services and any other source of information as may be necessary to make the determination under this section.

(f) When submitting filing fees, the state, county chair and city chairs of each political party shall notify the State Election Commissioner and the departments of election for their county whether filing fee checks are to be held in the office where the candidate will file or if they are to be turned over to the respective state, county or city chair of each political party.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 3104; 57 Del. Laws, c. 241, § 4; 57 Del. Laws, c. 567, § 18B; 58 Del. Laws, c. 519; 60 Del. Laws, c. 398, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 712, §§ 3-5; 61 Del. Laws, c. 418, § 11; 69 Del. Laws, c. 244, §§ 1-3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 305, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 2.;

The time for opening the polls for the purpose of conducting a primary election shall be 7:00 in the morning, and the time for closing the polls at such primary election shall be 8:00 in the evening.

20 Del. Laws, c. 393, § 18; 22 Del. Laws, c. 285, § 1; 27 Del. Laws, c. 66, § 1; Code 1915, § 1692; 40 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 7; Code 1935, § 1780; 45 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 5; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 3105; 50 Del. Laws, c. 426, § 8.;

In case there be no contest for any office in any particular election district or districts the department shall be governed accordingly and shall not hold a primary election in any such election district or districts.

Code 1935, § 1780; 45 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 5; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 3106; 50 Del. Laws, c. 426, § 9.;

(a) Any person desiring to be a candidate shall give notice in the following manner:

(1) Candidates for statewide office:

a. Any statewide candidate shall notify the chair of the state committee of that statewide candidate's respective political party, or the chair's designee in writing, on forms prescribed by the State Election Commissioner on or before the deadline set forth in § 3101(1) of this title.

b. At the time of giving notice as required above, each candidate shall tender the required filing fee, if any, by giving a check to the State Election Commissioner, payable to the state committee of the candidate's political party, together with a copy of the notice given the party's state chair. At such time, the Commissioner shall receipt a third copy of said notice, to be provided the candidate.

(2) Candidates for all other offices:

a. All candidates for county or countywide office, members of the General Assembly and/or municipal office for any municipality holding its election at the time of the general election shall notify the county chair, or the county chair's designee, in writing (or the city chair, or the city chair's designee, if applicable for municipal candidates) of their respective political party in their county of residence on forms prescribed by the State Election Commissioner on or before the deadline set forth in § 3101(1) of this title.

b. At the time of giving notice as required above, each candidate shall tender the required filing fee, if any, by giving a check to the county department of elections, payable to the county committee of the candidate's political party (or city committee, if applicable for municipal candidates), together with a copy of the notice given to the party chair. At such time, the department shall receipt a third copy of the notice, to be provided the candidate.

(b) If any of the filing fees mentioned in subsection (a) of this section are not required, each candidate shall still give notice to the election agency having jurisdiction, as specified in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section, and shall receive a receipted copy of the prescribed form.

(c) Any candidate who has filed for nomination as required above may withdraw said filing by notifying the respective elections agency with whom that candidate filed on forms prescribed by the State Election Commissioner on or before the deadline set forth in § 3101(2) of this title. The elections agency having jurisdiction shall promptly notify the same political party chair who received the original notice of filing. The filing fee of the candidate so withdrawing shall be returned to the candidate. In the event a candidate withdraws after the deadline set forth in § 3101(2) of this title, such candidate shall forfeit the filing fee to the political party. In cases where no filing fee was required, any candidate withdrawing after the deadline shall submit to the respective elections agency a check payable to the Treasurer of the State in the amount of $50.

(d) Following the deadline for withdrawal of candidates, the State Election Commissioner shall promptly turn over any remaining filing fee checks in the possession of the Commissioner. At the same time, the Commissioner shall notify each county department of elections of all those statewide candidates who have qualified under this section. Each county department of elections shall also at this time submit to the county chair or city chair any remaining filing fee checks in the possession of the county departments and shall notify the Commissioner of all persons who have qualified as candidates.

(e) Any notice of candidacy or withdrawal of candidacy required by this section shall include the signature of each candidate, together with the candidate's proper and correct name typed or printed, and the address from which the candidate is registered to vote at the time of filing.

(f) At the time of the filing of the notice required by this section, as well as at the time of the primary election, the person filing such notice shall be a registered member of the party whose nomination such person seeks, as shown on the voter rolls of the department of elections.

20 Del. Laws, c. 393, § 39; 27 Del. Laws, c. 66, § 1; Code 1915, § 1713; Code 1935, § 1801; 45 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 10; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 3107; 57 Del. Laws, c. 241, § 5; 57 Del. Laws, c. 567, § 18C; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 34; 58 Del. Laws, c. 215, § 18; 58 Del. Laws, c. 258, §§ 3-5; 58 Del. Laws, c. 368, §§ 2, 3; 60 Del. Laws, c. 398, § 2; 60 Del. Laws, c. 712, § 6; 61 Del. Laws, c. 484, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 354, § 21; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 305, § 4; 78 Del. Laws, c. 36, § 1.;

Any candidate for party nomination to any office who receives a plurality of the votes cast in that candidate's party's primary election for that office shall be the nominee of that candidate's party for such office.

20 Del. Laws, c. 393, § 19; 22 Del. Laws, c. 285, § 2; 27 Del. Laws, c. 66, § 1; Code 1915, § 1693; 34 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 5; Code 1935, § 1781; 45 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 6; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 3108; 49 Del. Laws, c. 4, § 5; 49 Del. Laws, c. 276, § 2; 50 Del. Laws, c. 426, § 10; 57 Del. Laws, c. 241, § 6; 57 Del. Laws, c. 567, §§ 18D, 18E; 58 Del. Laws, c. 258, §§ 6, 7; 58 Del. Laws, c. 368, § 4; 60 Del. Laws, c. 712, § 7; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The county departments of elections shall, at least 2 weeks before a primary election, determine and establish primary election districts, each of which shall consist of 1 or more entire election districts in the same representative district.

The county departments of elections and the election officers shall conduct the primary elections in the same way that general elections are conducted and in accordance with the applicable provisions of this title, except that the voting machines shall be operated so that the only buttons open to each voter shall be the buttons for candidates of the party of the voter's party affiliation as shown by the voter's original permanent registration record.

The primary election officers and clerks shall be chosen by the department from among the election officers and clerks selected for the general election for the election district or districts contained in the primary election district, and for each such primary election district the election officers and clerks shall be divided as equally as possible between the 2 principal parties.

20 Del. Laws, c. 393, § 23; 27 Del. Laws, c. 66, § 1; Code 1915, § 1697; Code 1935, § 1785; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 3109; 50 Del. Laws, c. 426, § 11; 50 Del. Laws, c. 631, § 1; 51 Del. Laws, c. 107, § 1; 52 Del. Laws, c. 87; 57 Del. Laws, c. 567, § 17; 70 Del. Laws, c. 506, § 1.;

Notice of primary elections shall at a minimum be given by publication of a notice of election in a daily newspaper of general circulation during 3 of the 10 days prior to a primary election with the last publication being the day before the aforesaid primary, or in the last issue of a weekly newspaper printed in a county before the aforesaid primary. Such notice shall also be, posted on the State's, the State Election Commissioners' and the departments of elections' websites.

20 Del. Laws, c. 393, § 2; 27 Del. Laws, c. 66, § 1; Code 1915, § 1679; Code 1935, § 1770; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 3110; 51 Del. Laws, c. 107, § 2; 58 Del. Laws, c. 215, § 19; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, §§ 2, 39.;

An elector may vote in the primary election of a political party only if the elector is a duly registered voter and if it appears upon the elector's original permanent registration record that the elector's party affiliation is the same as the party which is holding the primary election.

20 Del. Laws, c. 393, § 20; 22 Del. Laws, c. 285, § 3; 27 Del. Laws, c. 66, § 1; Code 1915, § 1694; 40 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 8; Code 1935, § 1782; 45 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 7; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 3111; 50 Del. Laws, c. 426, § 2; 57 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 42; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 40.;

The expenses for holding primary elections under this chapter, including stationery, and pay of officers and clerks shall be paid by the State.

20 Del. Laws, c. 393, § 35; 27 Del. Laws, c. 66, § 1; Code 1915, § 1709; 30 Del. Laws, c. 102, § 1; Code 1935, § 1797; 45 Del. Laws, c. 150, § 9; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 3113; 51 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 3.;

Repealed by 76 Del. Laws, c. 237, § 4, effective June 18, 2008.;

The method of nominating candidates for the national Electoral College, for offices within a particular political party and for formulation of the party platform may be by convention.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 3116; 57 Del. Laws, c. 241, § 8; 57 Del. Laws, c. 567, § 18F; 58 Del. Laws, c. 258, § 8; 60 Del. Laws, c. 712, § 8.;