TITLE 15

Elections

General Elections

CHAPTER 53. MILITARY OR OTHER INTERFERENCE WITH ELECTIONS


Whoever, being a citizen or inhabitant of this State:

(1) Sends or causes to be sent, brings or causes to be brought into this State, or aids, abets, procures, advises, counsels or in any manner assists in sending or bringing into this State any armed soldier to be present at any voting place in this State or within 5 miles thereof, on the day of any general, special or other election held in this State; or

(2) Aids, abets, procures, advises, counsels or in any manner assists the presence or attendance of any armed soldier at any such voting place, or within 5 miles thereof, on any such election day,

shall be guilty of a felony, and shall be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000, and imprisoned not less than 1 nor more than 5 years, and shall forever thereafter be incapable of exercising the right of suffrage in this State.

12 Del. Laws, c. 326, § 1; Code 1915, § 1825; Code 1935, § 1914; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5302.;

Whoever, being a citizen or inhabitant of this State, aids, abets, procures, advises, counsels or in any manner assists or is guilty of military interference in any manner with the freedom of any election in this State shall be guilty of felony, and shall be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000 and imprisoned not less than 1 nor more than 5 years, and shall forever thereafter be incapable of exercising the right of suffrage in this State.

12 Del. Laws, c. 326, § 2; Code 1915, § 1826; Code 1935, § 1915; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5303.;

(a) Whoever, being a duly qualified elector of this State according to the Constitution and laws thereof, is prevented from voting, or obstructed in that elector's own effort to vote at any election, by reason of any interference by any person or persons, or military power, or other power, exercising or attempting to exercise force, intimidation or threats, or requiring any qualifications or conditions unknown to such Constitution and laws, shall be deemed and taken to have suffered private damage and injury, and shall have civil remedy therefor, in the courts of this State, by civil action against every person who promoted such interference, whether by active participation, or by advising, counseling, or in anywise encouraging the same.

(b) In any trial under this section or § 5304 of this title, the court or jury, if, in their opinion the circumstances will warrant it, may give exemplary damages.

12 Del. Laws, c. 487, § 1; Code 1915, § 1828; Code 1935, § 1917; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5304; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Every citizen of this State who has knowledge of any design on the part of any other citizen or citizens of this State to promote interference with elections, either by soliciting or advising the presence of a military force at or near the place or places of holding such elections or by the employment of any other organized or unorganized body of individuals, or by intimidation or threats shall forthwith make public disclosure of such knowledge, stating names, by an affidavit to be made before any one of the Superior Court Judges of this State, and shall file the same in the office of the Prothonotary of the county where the Judge resides, and if any such citizen, having such knowledge, fails to make such affidavit and cause the same to be filed, such citizen shall be treated as a promoter of the interference mentioned in § 5303 of this title and be liable as is provided in such § 5303.

12 Del. Laws, c. 487, § 2; Code 1915, § 1829; Code 1935, § 1918; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5305; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The limitation of actions commenced under §§ 5303 and 5304 of this title shall be 10 years from the time of the accruing of the cause of action.

12 Del. Laws, c. 487, § 3; Code 1915, § 1830; Code 1935, § 1919; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5306.;

If it happens that by reason of the presence of any military force at or near the place of holding an election in this State, electors duly qualified by the Constitution and laws of this State to vote at such place at the election shall be prevented from or interfered with by military force or by the requirement of oaths unknown to the Constitution and laws in casting their votes, any number of electors not less than 5 may withdraw from the place to any other 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 the district, who shall be a freeholder, to act as inspector, deliver to such inspector there their respective ballots. The inspector shall receive the ballots and record the name of the voter upon a list to be kept by that inspector for that purpose and immediately write upon each ballot the name of the person who delivered the same to that inspector, the inspector having first administered to each person offering to vote an oath or affirmation in the following words: "You do solemnly swear (or affirm) that you are now a duly registered voter of this election district, that you have not voted and will not vote on this day at any other place in this or any other election district, and that you have been hindered or prevented from casting your vote at the regular place of holding the election in this district, by military interference, or by the requirement of oaths unauthorized by the Constitution and laws of this State."

12 Del. Laws, c. 491, § 1; Code 1915, § 1831; Code 1935, § 1920; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5307; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) The polls authorized to be held by § 5306 of this title 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 they shall be kept open until 6:00 in the afternoon, when the inspector shall close them.

(b) As soon as such polls are closed, the inspector holding them, having 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 that inspector 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 that inspector, until the time of the meeting of the Superior Court of the inspector's county, constituted as provided by § 6, article V, of the Constitution of this State, provided by the election laws, when the inspector shall appear before the Court with the ballots and list of voters and that inspector's certificate, and deliver the certificate to the Court, with an affidavit made by the inspector upon the same, that it contains a true and faithful statement of the number of ballots received by the inspector, the names of the electors who cast them, the number of votes for the different persons voted for and that at the poll held by the inspector, that the inspector did not knowingly receive the ballot of any person not a duly qualified voter within that inspector's election district according to the Constitution and laws of this State and did not refuse to receive the ballot of any person so qualified, 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 this State, and that the inspector determined every matter that came before that inspector and performed every act and duty required of the inspector by law touching the election held by the inspector, truly, faithfully and impartially, according to the best of that inspector's skill and judgment.

12 Del. Laws, c. 491, § 2; Code 1915, § 1832; Code 1935, § 1921; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5308; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The Superior Court, sitting as a board of canvass, shall receive the certificate, and in ascertaining and certifying the state of the election shall take into consideration the number of ballots certified by the inspector to have been received by that inspector and for whom and what office the votes were given, and give the certificate the same force and effect as a certificate of the election officers at any of the regular places of holding the election. The votes so given shall be reckoned among the number of votes given in the election district where they were received by the inspector, in the same manner as if they had been given at the regular place of voting in the district; provided always, however, that the Court shall be required to hear and determine challenges as to the right of any person, who delivered that person's own ballot to the 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 from want of qualification, or by reason of having voted at any other place in the State where the person was entitled to vote on the same day. Such of the ballots so received by the inspector, as are not rejected by the Court and also the list of voters, and the certificate shall be deposited by the Court in the regular ballot box of the election district where they were cast, and the box shall then be immediately resealed by the Court. The Court may also open the ballot box for the purpose. The Court may also examine on oath the inspector touching any matter connected with the inspector's holding of the election, and may if it appear to it that the election was not fairly held by such inspector, reject the inspector's certificate and throw out the vote returned by that inspector.

12 Del. Laws, c. 491, § 3; Code 1915, § 1833; Code 1935, § 1922; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5309; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

If it is apparent to the Court sitting as board of canvass that any interference with the performance of its duties will be attempted by military force, or if, after it has met, any such interference is attempted, it may meet at any other place within its county to perform its duties. And further, if any member of the Court, or any such inspector created by virtue of this title, or any inspector of election, is prevented, by reason of such interference from attending the meeting of the Court, or if the Court, being met, shall be prevented by such interference from performing the duties incumbent on it, the Court shall adjourn to meet at some other time and other place, if necessary, to perform its duties under the laws of this State, and so adjourn from time to time until such duties can be performed. The duty of attendance upon the Court on the part of such an inspector created by authority of this chapter, and the penalties upon such inspector for not appearing shall be the same as in the case of the inspectors regularly elected or appointed according to law.

12 Del. Laws, c. 491, § 4; Code 1915, § 1834; Code 1935, § 1923; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5310; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Nothing contained in §§ 5306-5312 of this title shall limit the voting places to 2 in an election district, but, the emergency contemplated in §§ 5306-5309 of this title arising, as many different polls may be held as there are numbers of voters of 5 or more, who under the circumstances withdraw from the regular place of holding the election for the purpose of casting their ballots without intimidation or interference.

12 Del. Laws, c. 491, § 5; Code 1915, § 1835; Code 1935, § 1924; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5311.;

Each inspector chosen under § 5306 of this title may appoint a clerk to aid the inspector in the discharge of such duties as are clerical and shall administer to the clerk before the clerk enters upon the discharge of the duties to be assigned to that clerk an oath or affirmation in these words:

"I 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 Clerk of the Election for this election in............ Election District in............. Representative District in............ County, according to the best of my ability."

12 Del. Laws, c. 491, § 6; Code 1915, § 1836; Code 1935, § 1925; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5312; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The special inspectors and clerks elected and appointed under this chapter shall receive the same compensation as inspectors and clerks elected and appointed under the provisions of law for a general election.

12 Del. Laws, c. 491, § 6; Code 1915, § 1836; Code 1935, § 1925; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5313.;