TITLE 15

Elections

General Elections

CHAPTER 50. VOTING MACHINES


(a) Any voting machine may be adopted, purchased or used which shall be so constructed as to fulfill the following requirements:

(1) Each voting machine shall have a serial number permanently attached to or stamped on the machine;

(2) It shall secure to the voter secrecy in the act of voting for or against as many questions as may be submitted;

(3) It shall permit the voter to vote for the candidates of 1 or more parties, or to write in the name of any candidate of that voter's choice for any office;

(4) It shall permit the voter to vote for as many persons for an office as the voter is lawfully entitled to vote for, but no more;

(5) It shall prevent the voter from voting for the same person more than once for the same office;

(6) It shall permit the voter to vote for or against any question the voter may have the right to vote upon, but no other;

(7) If used in primary elections, it shall be so equipped that the election officials can lock out all rows except those of the voter's party by a single adjustment on the outside of the machine;

(8) It shall correctly register or record and accurately count all votes cast for any and all candidates of a political party, and for or against any and all questions, and correctly register or record the names of all candidates written in by voters;

(9) It shall be provided with a protective counter or protective device whereby any operation of the machine before or after the election will be detected;

(10) It shall be provided with a counter which will show at all times during any election the total number of persons who have voted;

(11) It shall be so equipped that it shall prevent the voter from voting for all the candidates of 1 party by the use of a single lever; however, it shall be provided with 1 device for each party, for voting for all presidential electors of that party by 1 operation.

(12) It shall permit the voter to verify (in a private and independent manner) the votes selected by the voter on the ballot before the ballot is cast and counted.

(13) It shall provide the voter the opportunity (in a private and independent manner) to change the ballot or correct any error before the ballot is cast and corrected (including the opportunity to correct the error through the issuance of a replacement ballot before the voter has cast a ballot if the voter was otherwise unable to change the ballot or correct any error).

(b) Every voting machine shall be furnished with a means of providing sufficient light to enable voters while in the voting booth to read the ballots and suitable for use by the election officers in examining the counters. All voting devices used in any election shall provide the voter the opportunity to make selections and cast a ballot in secrecy through placement of the devices in the polling place or through the use of curtains or other devices.

(c) Voting machines of different kinds may be adopted for use in different districts of the same county.

(d) Any voting device, machine or system purchased by the State shall be certified by the National Association of State Election Directors or the Election Assistance Commission as meeting or exceeding the voluntary voting systems standards or guidelines as promulgated by the Federal Election Commission or the Election Assistance Commission prior to delivery to and acceptance by the State.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 5002; 49 Del. Laws, c. 18, § 1; 57 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 65; 57 Del. Laws, c. 695, §§ 5, 6; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 168, §§ 9-11.;

Before any voting machine is purchased, rented or otherwise acquired, or used, the person owning or manufacturing such machine must give an adequate guarantee in writing and post a bond accompanied by satisfactory surety with the department of elections guaranteeing and securing that such machines comply fully with the requirements contained in § 5001 of this title and will correctly, accurately and continuously register and record every vote cast and further guaranteeing such machine against defects in labor and materials for a period of 5 years from the date of acquisition thereof, or, in the case of rented machines, for the period of rental.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 5003; 49 Del. Laws, c. 18, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Voting machines shall be used throughout this State in all primary, general and special elections and in all municipal elections in all incorporated cities and towns of this State. In the event no contest exists in municipal elections voting machines shall not be required. Voting machines shall be used in elections held under Title 14. Incorporated cities or towns may use voting machines in the custody of the department of elections of the same county upon payment of all costs and expenses incident to their use.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 5004; 49 Del. Laws, c. 18, § 1; 54 Del. Laws, c. 182; 57 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 66; 57 Del. Laws, c. 353; 58 Del. Laws, c. 48; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 102; 66 Del. Laws, c. 359, § 1.;

(a) In general elections, the polling place for every election district shall be supplied with at least 1 voting machine for every 650 registered voters or majority fraction thereof.

(b) In primary and special elections, the polling place for every primary voting district or election district shall be provided with at least 1 voting machine for every 800 registered voters or majority fraction thereof.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 5005; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 103; 59 Del. Laws, c. 120, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 168, § 12; 74 Del. Laws, c. 411, § 22; 78 Del. Laws, c. 304, § 6.;

(a) All ballots provided for voting machines shall be printed in black ink on clear, white material of such size as will fit the ballot frame, and in as plain, clear type as the space will reasonably permit. The face of the ballot shall be completely covered with a protective covering of smooth, hard, transparent material so that it shall be impossible to alter the face of the ballot without removing or breaking such covering.

(b) The party emblem which has been duly adopted by such party in accordance with law and the party name or other designation for each political party represented on the machine shall appear on the ballot. The titles of offices may be arranged horizontally, with the names of candidates for an office arranged vertically under the title of the office or the titles of offices may be arranged vertically, with the names of candidates for an office arranged horizontally opposite the title of the office, each office to occupy as many columns or rows on the machine as the number of candidates to be elected to that office. The names of all candidates nominated by any party for an office shall always appear in the row or column containing generally the names of candidates nominated by such party for other offices, except as provided in this chapter.

(c) The machine shall be so adjusted that when 1 or more knobs or the slide mechanism for write-in voting equalling the total number of persons to be elected to the offices shall have been operated, other knobs or the slide mechanism for write-in voting used in connection with those offices shall be thereby locked. After the last candidate's name at the right in any horizontal row, or below the last candidate's name in any vertical column, the knob or knobs, if there be any, under or opposite the title or titles of office or offices shall be locked; all knobs with the exception of the slide mechanism for write-in voting shall be locked in any row or column which contains no names of candidates; and all knobs with the exception of the slide mechanism for write-in voting shall be locked in spaces, if any, which do not contain names of candidates even though the names of candidates appear in other spaces in the same row or column.

(d) Official ballots provided for voting machines shall be prepared and furnished by the department of each county in the same manner as now provided by law, and shall be delivered to the department not later than 15 days prior to the next succeeding election.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 5008; 49 Del. Laws, c. 18, § 1; 54 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 2; 57 Del. Laws, c. 695, § 7.;

The department shall provide and furnish 2 sets of official ballots for each voting machine. One set thereof shall be placed in the voting machine and the other shall be retained in the custody of the department unless it becomes necessary during the course of the election to make use of the same in a voting machine.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 5009; 49 Del. Laws, c. 18, § 1; 54 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 3.;

If the official ballots for an election district are not delivered in time for use on election day or after delivery shall be lost, destroyed or stolen, the department shall cause other ballots to be prepared, printed or written as nearly as may be of the form and description of the official ballots, and the department shall cause the ballots so substituted to be used at the election in the same manner, as nearly as may be, as the official ballots would have been.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 5010; 49 Del. Laws, c. 18, § 1; 54 Del. Laws, c. 69, § 4.;

(a) The department of elections shall cause sufficient voting machines to be delivered to the proper polling places prior to the time appointed for the election officers to report for duty. The department shall make sure that each machine to be used in an election has been properly prepared and inspected.

(b) The department shall mail written notices to the chair of the county committee of each of the 2 principal political parties, stating the time and place at which the voting machines will be inspected. Each principal political party may have 1 representative present during this inspection.

(c) The board of elections shall designate at least 2 representatives of opposite political affiliation, other than the person or persons preparing the machine:

(1) To inspect each machine to make certain it is in good order and that the proper ballots have been placed in it;

(2) To test the lever beside the name of each candidate and the write-in roll slot to make certain they are operating properly; and

(3) To certify such inspections and testing upon a record provided by the department.

(d) The department shall cause all registering counters to be set at zero (000) and the paper in the write-in roll slots to be blank. The ballot frames of each machine shall be sealed with a numbered metal seal. Two representatives of the board of elections, of opposite political affiliation, shall examine each machine to make certain this has been done. They shall:

(1) Certify the numbers on the machines and the election districts for which they are designated;

(2) Certify that all registering counters and write-in slots are set at zero (000) or are blank;

(3) Certify that the ballot frames are sealed; and

(4) Record and certify the number on the protective counter, the numbered seal and the write-in paper roll.

(e) The department shall make sure each machine is properly prepared in all respects for the election, that its doors are locked and the necessary keys prepared for delivery to the election officers. Two representatives of the board of elections, of opposite political affiliation, shall certify that this has been done.

(f) The certification required by this section shall be a public record in the office of the department of elections.

(g) The department shall require that all persons entrusted with custody of the machines, either for delivery or storage before and after the election, shall insure the machines' safety and protection.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 5012; 49 Del. Laws, c. 18, § 1; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, §§ 105, 106; 60 Del. Laws, c. 404, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Each department shall designate suitable and adequate times and places where voting machines containing sample ballots showing titles of offices to be filled, and so far as practicable, the names of candidates to be voted for at the next election shall be exhibited for the purpose of giving instructions as to the use of voting machines to all voters who apply for the same. No voting machine which is to be assigned for use in an election shall be used for such instruction after having been prepared and sealed for the election. During public exhibition of any voting machine for the instruction of voters previous to an election, the counting mechanism thereof shall be concealed from view.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 5014; 49 Del. Laws, c. 18, § 1.;

In case any voting machine used in any election district shall during the time the polls are open become injured so as to render it inoperative in whole or in part, the department shall substitute a perfect machine for the injured machine, and at the close of the polls, the record of both machines shall be taken, and the votes shown on their counters shall be added together in ascertaining and determining the results of the election. The department shall maintain and hold in readiness a reasonable number of extra voting machines to be supplied to election districts where a voting machine has become inoperative, and the department shall take reasonable steps to insure rapid delivery in such event.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 5015; 49 Del. Laws, c. 18, § 1; 50 Del. Laws, c. 172, § 13.;

Curtains on all voting machines shall be securely sealed or fastened before being used in any election so that the clearance lever cannot be operated without opening or closing curtains.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 5019; 49 Del. Laws, c. 18, § 1.;