TITLE 15

Elections

General Elections

CHAPTER 55. ABSENTEE VOTING


It is the purpose and intent of the General Assembly in enacting this chapter to provide those qualified electors of this State who are unable to appear at an election to cast their ballots at the polling place of their election district with the ability to cast a ballot to be counted in the total for the election district in which the elector is registered, in compliance with article V, § 4A, Delaware Constitution. This chapter shall govern general absentee voting procedures in all primary, general, and special elections conducted in this State; provided, however, that procedures unique to a specific election or election type may be set forth elsewhere in this title.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 20; 47 Del. Laws, c. 316, § 4; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5501; 49 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 1; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 122; 63 Del. Laws, c. 455, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1.;

Any qualified elector, duly registered, of this State may cast the qualified elector's vote by absentee ballot in any primary election, general election, special election for statewide or local offices and in any election held under the provisions of Chapter 73 of this title. Votes cast by absentee ballot pursuant to this chapter shall be counted in the total for the election district in which the elector is registered if the elector is unable to appear at the polling place of the elector's election district due to the following reasons:

(1) Because such person is in the public service of the United States or of this State, or is a citizen of the United States temporarily residing outside the territorial limits of the United States and the District of Columbia, or such person's spouse or dependents when residing with or accompanying the person, or is absent from this State because of illness or injury received while serving in the armed forces of the United States; or

(2) Because such person is in the armed forces of the United States or the merchant marine of the United States, or attached to and serving with the armed forces of the United States in the American Red Cross or United Service Organizations; or

(3) Because of the nature of such person's business or occupation, including the business or occupation of providing care to his or her parent, spouse, or child who is living at home and requires constant care due to illness, disability, or injury; or

(4) Because such person is sick or physically disabled; or

(5) Because such person is absent from the district while on vacation; or

(6) Because such person is unable to vote at a certain time or on a certain day due to the tenets or teachings of that person's religion; or

(7) Because such person is otherwise authorized pursuant to the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) [42 U.S.C. § 1973ff et seq.] to vote by absentee ballot; or

(8) Because such person is otherwise authorized by federal law to vote by absentee ballot.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 1; 47 Del. Laws, c. 316, § 1; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5503; 49 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 3; 57 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 75; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 123; 58 Del. Laws, c. 397, § 8; 61 Del. Laws, c. 252, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 67, §§ 1-3; 63 Del. Laws, c. 455, § 2; 65 Del. Laws, c. 455, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 301, §§ 1, 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 287, § 3; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, §§ 70, 71; 78 Del. Laws, c. 297, § 2.;

(a) An elector desiring to vote by absentee ballot in an election for which the elector is a qualified elector may request an absentee ballot from the department of elections for the county in which the elector is domiciled (hereinafter referred to as the "department") by filing a hand written or electronically prepared affidavit with the department no later than 12:00 noon the day before the election.

(b) An affidavit may be filed pursuant to this section by:

(1) Mailing it, delivering it, or causing it to be delivered to the department of elections for the county in which the elector is domiciled; or

(2) Delivering it to a department of elections for another county, if special circumstances exist that prevent the elector from filing it pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(c) Affidavits filed pursuant to paragraph (b)(2) of this section shall be treated as if they were filed with the department of elections for the county in which the elector is domiciled. The department of elections where the affidavit is delivered shall, for the purposes of that absentee ballot only, act as the agent of the department of elections for the county in which the elector is domiciled and may deliver and accept an absentee ballot from such elector. The State Election Commissioner, in consultation with the departments of elections for each county, shall promulgate regulations defining specific procedures for such intra-county acceptance of affidavits pursuant to this section, and subsequent delivery and acceptance of absentee ballots, and the special circumstances under which each of these events is authorized.

(d) Affidavits filed pursuant to this section shall:

(1) Indicate the election or elections for which the elector is requesting an absentee ballot;

(2) Include at least the following information:

a. The elector's name;

b. The address of the elector's domicile in the State;

c. The address to which the elector requests that the absentee ballot be mailed;

d. The elector's date of birth;

e. The elector's social security number (optional);

f. The elector's political party affiliation;

g. The elector's expected location on election day;

h. The reason that the elector cannot appear at the regular polling place for the elector's election district on the day of the election, which shall identify at least 1 of the reasons set forth in § 5502 of this title;

i. A telephone number, if available, to assist in resolving any challenge;

j. An e-mail address, if available, to assist in resolving any challenge; and

k. The elector's signature;

(3) Be subscribed and sworn to by the elector, before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths affirming that under penalty of perjury, the information on the affidavit is correct and true except that the affidavit for a person voting in person at a Department of Elections shall not be notarized but shall be accepted upon the voter presenting a form of ID acceptable by a notary;

(4) Be dated during the calendar year in which the election is to be held, provided that when a presidential primary election is scheduled and the date of the presidential primary election is less than 90 days before January 1 in the year in which a President of the United States is to be elected, the affidavit shall not be dated more than 90 days before the day of the presidential primary election, and further provided that, for special elections conducted pursuant to Chapter 71 of this title, the affidavit may be dated as of any date after a writ of election has issued; and

(5) Be promulgated by the State Election Commissioner, in consultation with the departments of elections for each county, and personally approved by the Attorney General of the State; provided however, that the Federal Post Card Application or its successor as promulgated by the Federal Voting Assistance Program or its successor shall also be considered an affidavit as used in this chapter.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, the affidavit of any elector desiring to receive an absentee ballot because the person qualifies under any of the reasons set forth in § 5502(1), (2), (4) or (7) of this title or because a person's business or occupation is providing care to his or her parent, spouse, or child who is living at home and requires constant care due to illness, disability, or injury, may be self-administered.

(f)(1) If the elector does not indicate the election or elections for which the elector is requesting an absentee ballot, it shall be presumed that the affidavit is for the next scheduled election in which the elector is eligible to vote; provided however, that an affidavit on which the person indicates that the reason the person is requesting to vote by absentee ballot is that the person is temporarily or permanently physically disabled or that the person qualifies under any of the reasons set forth in § 5502(1), (2), (4) or (7) of this title shall be presumed to be for all elections in a calendar year unless otherwise indicated on the affidavit.

(2) If the department is unable to determine the election and/or elections for which a person is requesting an absentee ballot, it shall attempt to contact the person in order to determine the person's intent; provided however, that if time is of the essence and the department is unable to contact the elector, the department's director and deputy director shall confer and determine the proper course of action.

(g) Affidavits filed pursuant to this section on which the elector's domicile is different than the address at which the person is registered to vote within the State shall be used to transfer the person's registration.

(h) Affidavits filed pursuant to this section on which an elector indicates that the elector has legally changed the elector's name shall be taken as authorization to transfer the elector's previous registration information, including the elector's voting record to the new name. The department shall then use the affidavit to make the change on the department's records.

(i) Affidavits filed pursuant to this section on which a person indicates a change in political party affiliation received during a period in which changes in political party affiliation are closed shall be used to change the person's political party affiliation when the period for changing political party affiliation re-opens.

(j) The department may adopt a printed or electronic affidavit form (or both), containing blanks associated with each item required by this section to be listed on an affidavit, which may be completed by any elector wishing to receive an absentee ballot pursuant to this section. An elector may submit a written or electronic request to the department for the department prepared affidavit form, which the department shall forward to the elector upon receipt of a request therefore.

(k) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a registered voter eligible to vote by absentee ballot for reasons stated in § 5502 (1), (2), (4), (7) or (8) of this title or because a person's business or occupation is providing care to his or her parent, spouse or child who is living at home and requires constant care due to illness, disability, or injury may apply in writing to the department of elections for the county in which the voter is registered to vote for permanent absentee status. The respective departments of elections shall automatically send an absentee ballot to each person in permanent absentee status for each election in which the person is entitled to vote.

(1) The State Election Commissioner shall promulgate instructions that people shall follow to apply for permanent absentee status.

(2) Overseas citizen and military voters may apply for permanent absentee status by writing that request in the remarks section of the federal post card application or its successor.

(3) A department of elections shall cancel a person's permanent absentee status upon the return of an absentee ballot or other correspondence sent by first-class mail as undeliverable, the person's death or disqualification, the cancellation of the person's voter registration, the receipt of a written request from the person, or receipt of written notification that the reason that the person has stated for voting by absentee ballot is no longer valid.

(4) Persons in permanent absentee status shall keep the department of elections informed of changes in address, changes in name or changes in the reason that the person has listed for voting by absentee ballot.

(5) Each department of elections shall post a list of permanent absentee voters on their web site.

(l) Upon request, a registered voter eligible to vote by absentee ballot for reasons stated in § 5502(4) of this title may be sent and may return his or her absentee ballot by electronic transmission in accordance with § 5525 of this title.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, §§ 1, 2, 11, 19, 19A; 45 Del. Laws, Sp. Sess., c. 5, § 1, 3; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, §§ 2, 10; 47 Del. Laws, c. 316, § 1; 15 Del. C. 1953, §§ 5504, 5505, 5514, 5521; 49 Del. Laws, c. 278, §§ 4, 5, 10; 50 Del. Laws, c. 173, §§ 1, 5; 52 Del. Laws, c. 92, § 3; 52 Del. Laws, c. 223; 57 Del. Laws, c. 567, § 49; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, §§ 124-127; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, §§ 13, 22; 61 Del. Laws, c. 480, § 17; 65 Del. Laws, c. 455, §§ 2, 3; 68 Del. Laws, c. 301, §§ 3, 9, 10, 15; 69 Del. Laws, c. 36, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 245, § 3; 72 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 8; 74 Del. Laws, c. 168, § 14; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 287, § 4; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 269, § 5; 78 Del. Laws, c. 297, §§ 3-5; 78 Del. Laws, c. 304, § 7.;

(a) An elector desiring to vote by absentee ballot in an election for which the elector is a qualified elector may request an absentee ballot from the Department by filing a hand written or electronically prepared affidavit with the department no later than 12:00 noon the day before the election.

(b) An affidavit may be filed pursuant to this section by mailing it, delivering it, or causing it to be delivered to the Department.

(c) [Repealed.]

(d) Affidavits filed pursuant to this section shall:

(1) Indicate the election or elections for which the elector is requesting an absentee ballot;

(2) Include at least the following information:

a. The elector's name;

b. The address of the elector's domicile in the State;

c. The address to which the elector requests that the absentee ballot be mailed;

d. The elector's date of birth;

e. The elector's social security number (optional);

f. The elector's political party affiliation;

g. The elector's expected location on election day;

h. The reason that the elector cannot appear at the regular polling place for the elector's election district on the day of the election, which shall identify at least 1 of the reasons set forth in § 5502 of this title;

i. A telephone number, if available, to assist in resolving any challenge;

j. An e-mail address, if available, to assist in resolving any challenge; and

k. The elector's signature;

(3) Be subscribed and sworn to by the elector, before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths affirming that under penalty of perjury, the information on the affidavit is correct and true except that the affidavit for a person voting in person at the Department shall not be notarized but shall be accepted upon the voter presenting a form of ID acceptable by a notary;

(4) Be dated during the calendar year in which the election is to be held, provided that when a presidential primary election is scheduled and the date of the presidential primary election is less than 90 days before January 1 in the year in which a President of the United States is to be elected, the affidavit shall not be dated more than 90 days before the day of the presidential primary election, and further provided that, for special elections conducted pursuant to Chapter 71 of this title, the affidavit may be dated as of any date after a writ of election has issued; and

(5) Be promulgated by the State Election Commissioner, in consultation with the Department, and personally approved by the Attorney General of the State; provided however, that the Federal Post Card Application or its successor as promulgated by the Federal Voting Assistance Program or its successor shall also be considered an affidavit as used in this chapter.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, the affidavit of any elector desiring to receive an absentee ballot because the person qualifies under any of the reasons set forth in § 5502(1), (2), (4) or (7) of this title or because a person's business or occupation is providing care to his or her parent, spouse, or child who is living at home and requires constant care due to illness, disability, or injury, may be self-administered.

(f)(1) If the elector does not indicate the election or elections for which the elector is requesting an absentee ballot, it shall be presumed that the affidavit is for the next scheduled election in which the elector is eligible to vote; provided however, that an affidavit on which the person indicates that the reason the person is requesting to vote by absentee ballot is that the person is temporarily or permanently physically disabled or that the person qualifies under any of the reasons set forth in § 5502(1), (2), (4) or (7) of this title shall be presumed to be for all elections in a calendar year unless otherwise indicated on the affidavit.

(2) If the Department is unable to determine the election and/or elections for which a person is requesting an absentee ballot, it shall attempt to contact the person in order to determine the person's intent; provided however, that if time is of the essence and the Department is unable to contact the elector, the Department's county director and deputy county director in the county where such person has requested an absentee ballot shall confer and determine the proper course of action.

(g) Affidavits filed pursuant to this section on which the elector's domicile is different than the address at which the person is registered to vote within the State shall be used to transfer the person's registration.

(h) Affidavits filed pursuant to this section on which an elector indicates that the elector has legally changed the elector's name shall be taken as authorization to transfer the elector's previous registration information, including the elector's voting record to the new name. The Department shall then use the affidavit to make the change on the Department's records.

(i) Affidavits filed pursuant to this section on which a person indicates a change in political party affiliation received during a period in which changes in political party affiliation are closed shall be used to change the person's political party affiliation when the period for changing political party affiliation re-opens.

(j) The Department may adopt a printed or electronic affidavit form (or both), containing blanks associated with each item required by this section to be listed on an affidavit, which may be completed by any elector wishing to receive an absentee ballot pursuant to this section. An elector may submit a written or electronic request to the Department for the Department-prepared affidavit form, which the Department shall forward to the elector upon receipt of a request therefor .

(k) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a registered voter eligible to vote by absentee ballot for reasons stated in § 5502 (1), (2), (4), (7) or (8) of this title or because a person's business or occupation is providing care to his or her parent, spouse or child who is living at home and requires constant care due to illness, disability, or injury may apply in writing to the Department for permanent absentee status. The Department shall automatically send an absentee ballot to each person in permanent absentee status for each election in which the person is entitled to vote.

(1) The State Election Commissioner shall promulgate instructions that people shall follow to apply for permanent absentee status.

(2) Overseas citizen and military voters may apply for permanent absentee status by writing that request in the remarks section of the federal post card application or its successor.

(3) The Department shall cancel a person's permanent absentee status upon the return of an absentee ballot or other correspondence sent by first-class mail as undeliverable, the person's death or disqualification, the cancellation of the person's voter registration, the receipt of a written request from the person, or receipt of written notification that the reason that the person has stated for voting by absentee ballot is no longer valid.

(4) Persons in permanent absentee status shall keep the Department informed of changes in address, changes in name or changes in the reason that the person has listed for voting by absentee ballot.

(5) The Department shall post a list of permanent absentee voters on its web site.

(l) Upon request, a registered voter eligible to vote by absentee ballot for reasons stated in § 5502(4) of this title may be sent and may return his or her absentee ballot by electronic transmission in accordance with § 5525 of this title.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, §§ 1, 2, 11, 19, 19A; 45 Del. Laws, Sp. Sess., c. 5, § 1, 3; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, §§ 2, 10; 47 Del. Laws, c. 316, § 1; 15 Del. C. 1953, §§ 5504, 5505, 5514, 5521; 49 Del. Laws, c. 278, §§ 4, 5, 10; 50 Del. Laws, c. 173, §§ 1, 5; 52 Del. Laws, c. 92, § 3; 52 Del. Laws, c. 223; 57 Del. Laws, c. 567, § 49; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, §§ 124-127; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, §§ 13, 22; 61 Del. Laws, c. 480, § 17; 65 Del. Laws, c. 455, §§ 2, 3; 68 Del. Laws, c. 301, §§ 3, 9, 10, 15; 69 Del. Laws, c. 36, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 245, § 3; 72 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 8; 74 Del. Laws, c. 168, § 14; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 287, § 4; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 269, § 5; 78 Del. Laws, c. 297, §§ 3-5; 78 Del. Laws, c. 304, § 7; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 86.;

(a) Upon receipt of an affidavit from an elector pursuant to § 5503 of this title, the department shall process the same and confirm that the elector qualifies for an absentee ballot pursuant to § 5502 of this title.

(b) Not more than 60 nor less than 4 days prior to an election, and within 3 days after the absentee ballots, envelopes, and instructions therefore become available, the department shall mail, to each elector who requests and qualifies for an absentee ballot pursuant to § 5502 of this title, the following:

(1) An absentee ballot for the election district in which the elector resides;

(2) Instructions for completing the absentee ballot and returning it to the department, marked "INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING AND RETURNING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT"; and

(3) An envelope marked "BALLOT ENVELOPE," which shall be:

a. Of the type known as a security mailing envelope, designed to securely protect the contents thereof from tampering, removal, or substitution without detection;

b. Large enough to carry the ballot envelope containing the completed absentee ballot; and

c. Addressed for return to the department of elections for the county in which the elector is domiciled.

(c) Postage for all mailings made pursuant to this subsection shall be pre-paid by the department.

(d) Nothing contained in this section shall prevent the issuance of an absentee ballot to those lawfully entitled thereto when the request is made less than 4 days prior to the election.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, §§ 4, 7; 45 Del. Laws, Sp. Sess., c. 5, § 2; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, §§ 3, 6; 46 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 1; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5506; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, § 14; 63 Del. Laws, c. 455, § 3; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 427, §§ 1, 2.;

(a) Upon receipt of an affidavit from an elector pursuant to § 5503 of this title, the Department shall process the same and confirm that the elector qualifies for an absentee ballot pursuant to 5502 of this title.

(b) Not more than 60 nor less than 4 days prior to an election, and within 3 days after the absentee ballots, envelopes, and instructions therefore become available, the Department shall mail, to each elector who requests and qualifies for an absentee ballot pursuant to § 5502 of this title, the following:

(1) An absentee ballot for the election district in which the elector resides;

(2) Instructions for completing the absentee ballot and returning it to the Department, marked "INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING AND RETURNING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT"; and

(3) An envelope marked "BALLOT ENVELOPE," which shall be:

a. Of the type known as a security mailing envelope, designed to securely protect the contents thereof from tampering, removal, or substitution without detection;

b. Large enough to carry the ballot envelope containing the completed absentee ballot; and

c. Addressed for return to the Department.

(c) Postage for all mailings made pursuant to this subsection shall be pre-paid by the Department.

(d) Nothing contained in this section shall prevent the issuance of an absentee ballot to those lawfully entitled thereto when the request is made less than 4 days prior to the election.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, §§ 4, 7; 45 Del. Laws, Sp. Sess., c. 5, § 2; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, §§ 3, 6; 46 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 1; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5506; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, § 14; 63 Del. Laws, c. 455, § 3; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 427, §§ 1, 2; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 87.;

(a) The department shall provide to each elector to whom it sends an absentee ballot an envelope which shall be:

(1) A color other than white;

(2) Large enough to hold a completed ballot; and

(3) Designed to protect its contents from tampering, removal or substitution without detection.

(b) Upon each envelope provided pursuant to this section shall appear:

(1) The words "BALLOT ENVELOPE";

(2) An alpha-numeric symbol and/or bar-code for use in accounting for the absentee ballot;

(3) Identification information for the elector receiving the absentee ballot, including: the name of the county within which the elector is domiciled, the elector's name, the elector's address, the elector's election district, the elector's representative district, and such other information as the Department may require; and

(4) The following oath:

"I do solemnly swear (affirm) that to the best of my knowledge I am eligible to vote in the State of Delaware and that my voting address is as it appears on the label on this envelope. I also do solemnly swear (affirm) under penalty of perjury that I have not received or accepted, or offered to receive or accept, any money or other item of value as compensation, inducement or reward for the giving or withholding of a vote at this election, nor that I am acting under duress or threat of duress or harm."

(5) If the voter is voting under the provisions of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Voting Act [42 U.S.C. § 1973ff et seq.], the oath shall be as provided by that act as amended.

(6) The voter's signature.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 5; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 4; 47 Del. Laws, c. 316, § 2; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5507; 49 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 7; 50 Del. Laws, c. 173, § 10; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 128; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, § 15; 65 Del. Laws, c. 455, § 4; 68 Del. Laws, c. 301, § 4; 70 Del. Laws, c. 188, § 27; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 427, § 3.;

(a) The Department shall provide to each elector to whom it sends an absentee ballot an envelope which shall be:

(1) A color other than white;

(2) Large enough to hold a completed ballot; and

(3) Designed to protect its contents from tampering, removal or substitution without detection.

(b) Upon each envelope provided pursuant to this section shall appear:

(1) The words "BALLOT ENVELOPE";

(2) An alpha-numeric symbol and/or bar-code for use in accounting for the absentee ballot;

(3) Identification information for the elector receiving the absentee ballot, including: the name of the county within which the elector is domiciled, the elector's name, the elector's address, the elector's election district, the elector's representative district, and such other information as the Department may require; and

(4) The following oath:

"I do solemnly swear (affirm) that to the best of my knowledge I am eligible to vote in the State of Delaware and that my voting address is as it appears on the label on this envelope. I also do solemnly swear (affirm) under penalty of perjury that I have not received or accepted, or offered to receive or accept, any money or other item of value as compensation, inducement or reward for the giving or withholding of a vote at this election, nor that I am acting under duress or threat of duress or harm."

(5) If the voter is voting under the provisions of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Voting Act [42 U.S.C. § 1973ff et seq.], the oath shall be as provided by that act as amended.

(6) The voter's signature.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 5; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 4; 47 Del. Laws, c. 316, § 2; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5507; 49 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 7; 50 Del. Laws, c. 173, § 10; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 128; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, § 15; 65 Del. Laws, c. 455, § 4; 68 Del. Laws, c. 301, § 4; 70 Del. Laws, c. 188, § 27; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 427, § 3; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 88.;

The Attorney General shall prepare a list of instructions to assist an elector voting by absentee ballot in properly marking and returning the elector's ballot pursuant to this chapter. These instructions shall be known and marked as "INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING AND RETURNING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT." Before each election the Attorney General shall deliver a copy of the instructions to each department in sufficient time for the departments to have the instructions printed and delivered to each elector who requested an absentee ballot for the ensuing election.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 9; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 8; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5509; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1.;

The Attorney General shall prepare a list of instructions to assist an elector voting by absentee ballot in properly marking and returning the elector's ballot pursuant to this chapter. These instructions shall be known and marked as "INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING AND RETURNING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT." Before each election the Attorney General shall deliver a copy of the instructions to the Department in sufficient time for the Department to have the instructions printed and delivered to each elector who requested an absentee ballot for the ensuing election.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 9; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 8; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5509; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 89.;

The procedure for completing an absentee ballot and returning it to the department is as follows:

(1) An elector who receives an absentee ballot pursuant to this chapter shall complete the ballot by marking it with the elector's selections and shall place the completed ballot in the envelope marked "BALLOT ENVELOPE."

(2) The elector shall confirm that the information about that elector on the ballot envelope is correct and then sign the self-administered oath.

(3) The elector shall then seal the ballot envelope.

(4) The elector shall return the sealed ballot envelope to the department by:

a. Depositing it in a United States postal mailbox, thereby mailing it to the department of the county issuing the ballot; or

b. Delivering it, or causing it to be delivered, to the department before the polls close on the day of the election.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 6; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 5; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5510; 55 Del. Laws, c. 150; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, § 18; 65 Del. Laws, c. 455, §§ 5, 6; 68 Del. Laws, c. 301, § 5; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 427, §§ 4-6.;

The procedure for completing an absentee ballot and returning it to the Department is as follows:

(1) An elector who receives an absentee ballot pursuant to this chapter shall complete the ballot by marking it with the elector's selections and shall place the completed ballot in the envelope marked "BALLOT ENVELOPE."

(2) The elector shall confirm that the information about that elector on the ballot envelope is correct and then sign the self-administered oath.

(3) The elector shall then seal the ballot envelope.

(4) The elector shall return the sealed ballot envelope to the Department by:

a. Depositing it in a United States postal mailbox, thereby mailing it to the Department; or

b. Delivering it, or causing it to be delivered, to the Department before the polls close on the day of the election.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 6; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 5; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5510; 55 Del. Laws, c. 150; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, § 18; 65 Del. Laws, c. 455, §§ 5, 6; 68 Del. Laws, c. 301, § 5; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 427, §§ 4-6; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 89.;

(a) Each department shall endorse the date and time of receipt on the ballot envelope of each absentee ballot received by the department.

(b) For an absentee ballot to be counted pursuant to this chapter, an elector voting by absentee ballot shall return the elector marked ballot to the department of elections of the county where the voter resides before the polls close on the day of the election.

(c) Each department shall retain unopened any ballot envelope it receives after the polls close on the day of the election until the last day of February next after the election, or longer if directed by proper authority or required to do so by federal law.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 11; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 10; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5511; 49 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 8; 50 Del. Laws, c. 173, § 3; 52 Del. Laws, c. 92, §§ 1, 2; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 129; 68 Del. Laws, c. 301, § 6; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 427, § 7.;

(a) The Department shall endorse the date and time of receipt on the ballot envelope of each absentee ballot received thereby.

(b) For an absentee ballot to be counted pursuant to this chapter, an elector voting by absentee ballot shall return the elector marked ballot to the Department before the polls close on the day of the election.

(c) The Department shall retain unopened any ballot envelope it receives after the polls close on the day of the election until the last day of February next after the election, or longer if directed by proper authority or required to do so by federal law.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 11; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 10; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5511; 49 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 8; 50 Del. Laws, c. 173, § 3; 52 Del. Laws, c. 92, §§ 1, 2; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 129; 68 Del. Laws, c. 301, § 6; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 427, § 7; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 89.;

(a) Upon receipt of a ballot envelope the department, or a person authorized by the department, shall:

(1) Ascertain the names of each elector as they appear on the face of each ballot envelope;

(2) Ascertain from the information on the ballot envelope the election district with whose votes the ballot within it shall be tallied; and

(3) Place the ballot envelope in a secure location until such time as it is opened and the ballot within it is counted.

(b) No member of the department (the director or any other person) shall open or attempt to open the ballot envelope, or change or alter or attempt to change or alter the ballot envelope, or any writing, printing or anything whatsoever thereon.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 10; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 9; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5512; 57 Del. Laws, c. 567, § 48; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, §§ 130, 131; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, §§ 19, 20; 68 Del. Laws, c. 301, § 7; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 427, §§ 8, 9; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 1.;

(a) Upon receipt of a ballot envelope the Department, or a person authorized by the Department, shall:

(1) Ascertain the names of each elector as they appear on the face of each ballot envelope;

(2) Ascertain from the information on the ballot envelope the election district with whose votes the ballot within it shall be tallied; and

(3) Place the ballot envelope in a secure location until such time as it is opened and the ballot within it is counted.

(b) No member of the Department (the director or any other person) shall open or attempt to open the ballot envelope, or change or alter or attempt to change or alter the ballot envelope, or any writing, printing or anything whatsoever thereon.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 10; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 9; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5512; 57 Del. Laws, c. 567, § 48; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, §§ 130, 131; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, §§ 19, 20; 68 Del. Laws, c. 301, § 7; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 427, §§ 8, 9; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 89.;

At any time between the Friday before the day of the election and the closing of the polls on an election day, absentee election judges within each county, selected by the administrators of the department of elections for that county, shall count absentee ballots at the department's offices in the county as follows:

(1) An absentee judge shall select the ballot envelopes in order of the election districts within the county;

(2) For each ballot envelope, the absentee judges shall ascertain whether a challenge has been made pursuant to this chapter;

(3) If a challenge has been made, the BALLOT ENVELOPE shall be marked as "CHALLENGED" and shall be set aside in a secure location for consideration at a later time as provided elsewhere in this title.

(4) If no challenge has been made, the absentee judges shall:

a. Open the ballot envelopes in such a manner as not to deface or destroy the self-administered affidavit thereon or the absentee ballot enclosed;

b. Remove the ballots from the ballot envelopes;

c. Determine whether the ballots have been properly completed and/or whether the elector's intent can be determined pursuant to § 4972 of this title;

d. Tally any absentee votes that were written-in, or that must be counted by hand pursuant to § 4972 of this title, on absentee vote tally sheets for the election district with whose votes the absentee votes are to be counted; and

e. Record the proper notations of such votes in the election records for the election district to which they apply.

f. A ballot that a team determines cannot be read by the tabulating equipment or which the tabulating equipment rejects, shall be duplicated as provided for in § 5510A of this title.

(5) Once absentee votes have been recorded, an absentee judge shall deposit the voted ballots, rejected ballots, and any absentee vote tally sheet that may have been used, in a carrier envelope for the election district with whose votes the absentee votes are counted; provided, however, that each carrier envelope shall contain absentee ballots, rejected ballots, and tally sheets for no more than one election district and only one carrier envelope shall be filled at a time.

(6) Once a carrier envelope is filled, it shall be sealed by an absentee judge. The absentee judge shall sign the absentee judge's name on each sealed carrier envelope, affirming that the absentee judge sealed the envelope and that the envelope contains ballots for the election district to which the envelope is assigned. Each sealed and signed carrier envelope shall be placed in a secure location and held there until such time as it is destroyed or moved for further legal process.

(7) The results of the absentee ballots shall not be extracted or reported before the polls have closed on the day of the election.

75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 427, § 10; 78 Del. Laws, c. 304, § 8.;

At any time between the Friday before the day of the election and the closing of the polls on an election day, absentee election judges within each county, selected by the administrators of the Department in that county, shall count absentee ballots at the Department's offices in the county as follows:

(1) An absentee judge shall select the ballot envelopes in order of the election districts within the county;

(2) For each ballot envelope, the absentee judges shall ascertain whether a challenge has been made pursuant to this chapter;

(3) If a challenge has been made, the BALLOT ENVELOPE shall be marked as "CHALLENGED" and shall be set aside in a secure location for consideration at a later time as provided elsewhere in this title.

(4) If no challenge has been made, the absentee judges shall:

a. Open the ballot envelopes in such a manner as not to deface or destroy the self-administered affidavit thereon or the absentee ballot enclosed;

b. Remove the ballots from the ballot envelopes;

c. Determine whether the ballots have been properly completed and/or whether the elector's intent can be determined pursuant to § 4972 of this title;

d. Tally any absentee votes that were written-in, or that must be counted by hand pursuant to § 4972 of this title, on absentee vote tally sheets for the election district with whose votes the absentee votes are to be counted; and

e. Record the proper notations of such votes in the election records for the election district to which they apply.

f. A ballot that a team determines cannot be read by the tabulating equipment or which the tabulating equipment rejects, shall be duplicated as provided for in § 5510A of this title.

(5) Once absentee votes have been recorded, an absentee judge shall deposit the voted ballots, rejected ballots, and any absentee vote tally sheet that may have been used, in a carrier envelope for the election district with whose votes the absentee votes are counted; provided, however, that each carrier envelope shall contain absentee ballots, rejected ballots, and tally sheets for no more than one election district and only one carrier envelope shall be filled at a time.

(6) Once a carrier envelope is filled, it shall be sealed by an absentee judge. The absentee judge shall sign the absentee judge's name on each sealed carrier envelope, affirming that the absentee judge sealed the envelope and that the envelope contains ballots for the election district to which the envelope is assigned. Each sealed and signed carrier envelope shall be placed in a secure location and held there until such time as it is destroyed or moved for further legal process.

(7) The results of the absentee ballots shall not be extracted or reported before the polls have closed on the day of the election.

75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 427, § 10; 78 Del. Laws, c. 304, § 8; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 89.;

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter or regulations adopted by the Department, a Department of Elections may open absentee ballots in public meetings beginning the Friday before the day of the election in order to prepare them for tabulation. The Department shall notify each party on the ballot that they may have challengers at the meetings during which the Department opens the absentee ballots. The challengers may challenge ballots as provided elsewhere in this title.

(b) The Department shall appoint teams composed of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans to open and duplicate ballots.

(c) The teams shall open ballots by election district, check them off against the list of absentee voters, duplicate ballots that the team determines that the tabulating equipment cannot read and then secure the opened and duplicated ballots along with the envelopes in a carrier envelope. The teams shall record the number of the carrier envelope and the election district number on a log sheet that it shall also secure in the same carrier envelope.

(d) Teams shall duplicate ballots by marking them according to the voter's intent as shown on the ballot marked by the voter. If a team cannot determine a voter's intent, they consult the director and deputy director for advice and guidance.

(e) When duplicating ballots, the teams shall assign the same unique identifier to the ballot that they duplicate and the duplicated ballot. After the team has duplicated ballots for an election district, the team shall put the ballots that the team duplicated in a separate envelope and put it in the carrier envelope for the election district and the team shall put the duplicated ballots with the ballots that the Department shall tabulate on the day of the election.

(f) The Department shall secure the carrier envelopes in locked cabinets until opened in a subsequent public meeting to insert additional ballots or to tabulate the ballots on the day of the election.

75 Del. Laws, c. 427, § 11; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 1.;

(a) The department shall purchase envelopes to be used as carrier envelopes, which shall be security mailing envelopes, designed to securely protect the contents thereof from tampering, removal, or substitution without detection and shall be large enough to accommodate multiple absentee ballots cast in the election.

(b) Carrier envelopes shall:

(1) For all purposes of this title be considered the official ballot boxes for absentee votes cast during a given election;

(2) Contain voted absentee ballots from a single election district;

(3) Be labeled to reflect the election district whose absentee ballots are held inside; and

(4) Ensure the security of said ballots in the event they must be moved for the purposes of certifying an election or recounting votes cast in an election.

(c) A sealed carrier envelope may be reopened only when necessary to certify an election or recount votes cast in an election.

(d) In the event the department must move absentee ballots for the purposes of certifying an election, or recounting votes cast in an election, it shall select the carrier envelopes for the affected election districts and move them, in a secure fashion, to the location where the carrier envelopes will be opened and the votes inside inspected.

(e) Upon completion of any inspection of votes pursuant to this subsection, absentee ballots shall be returned to the carrier envelopes from which they were removed and the carrier envelopes shall be:

(1) Resealed in a secure manner, or shall be placed in another security envelope, for the purposes of securely protecting the contents thereof from tampering, removal, or substitution without detection; and

(2) Placed in a secure location and held there until such time as it is destroyed or moved for further legal process.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 10; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 9; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5513; 49 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 9; 50 Del. Laws, c. 173, § 4; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 132; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, § 21; 68 Del. Laws, c. 301, § 8; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1.;

(a) The Department shall purchase envelopes to be used as carrier envelopes, which shall be security mailing envelopes, designed to securely protect the contents thereof from tampering, removal, or substitution without detection and shall be large enough to accommodate multiple absentee ballots cast in the election.

(b) Carrier envelopes shall:

(1) For all purposes of this title be considered the official ballot boxes for absentee votes cast during a given election;

(2) Contain voted absentee ballots from a single election district;

(3) Be labeled to reflect the election district whose absentee ballots are held inside; and

(4) Ensure the security of said ballots in the event they must be moved for the purposes of certifying an election or recounting votes cast in an election.

(c) A sealed carrier envelope may be reopened only when necessary to certify an election or recount votes cast in an election.

(d) In the event the Department must move absentee ballots for the purposes of certifying an election, or recounting votes cast in an election, it shall select the carrier envelopes for the affected election districts and move them, in a secure fashion, to the location where the carrier envelopes will be opened and the votes inside inspected.

(e) Upon completion of any inspection of votes pursuant to this subsection, absentee ballots shall be returned to the carrier envelopes from which they were removed and the carrier envelopes shall be:

(1) Resealed in a secure manner, or shall be placed in another security envelope, for the purposes of securely protecting the contents thereof from tampering, removal, or substitution without detection; and

(2) Placed in a secure location and held there until such time as it is destroyed or moved for further legal process.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 10; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 9; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5513; 49 Del. Laws, c. 278, § 9; 50 Del. Laws, c. 173, § 4; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 132; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, § 21; 68 Del. Laws, c. 301, § 8; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 90.;

The Attorney General shall personally approve each kind or type of envelope for use pursuant to this chapter. No department shall purchase, use, have printed upon, mail or deliver any envelope for use pursuant to this chapter unless such type or kind of such envelope has first been approved personally by the Attorney General.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, §§ 5, 7, 8; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, §§ 4, 6, 7; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5508; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, §§ 16, 17; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1.;

The Attorney General shall personally approve each kind or type of envelope for use pursuant to this chapter. The Department shall not purchase, use, have printed upon, mail or deliver any envelope for use pursuant to this chapter unless such type or kind of such envelope has first been approved personally by the Attorney General.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, §§ 5, 7, 8; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, §§ 4, 6, 7; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5508; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, §§ 16, 17; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 91.;

(a) The ballot of any elector choosing to vote by absentee ballot may be challenged for the same causes and in the same manner as provided in this title for other voters.

(b) In addition, the vote of an absentee voter may be challenged:

(1) On the ground that the affidavit filed by the voter in compliance with § 5503 of this title is false; or

(2) On the ground that the self-administered affidavit in the center of the face of the ballot envelope is not signed.

(c) If a challenge is made pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, an absentee judge shall return the ballot to its ballot envelope, shall mark the ballot envelope as "CHALLENGED," and shall set the envelope aside in a secure location for consideration at a later time as provided elsewhere in this title. If a challenge is made pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, an absentee judge shall mark the ballot envelope as "CHALLENGED" and shall set it aside in a secure location for consideration at a later time as provided elsewhere in this title.

(d) All challenges to absentee ballots voted in a particular election district must be resolved before the counting of votes in that election district may be considered complete. Any challenge not resolved by the absentee judges within a reasonable time of the challenge having been made shall be referred to the director and deputy director of the department of elections for the county for resolution.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 14; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5517; 50 Del. Laws, c. 173, § 2; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 135; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 1.;

(a) The ballot of any elector choosing to vote by absentee ballot may be challenged for the same causes and in the same manner as provided in this title for other voters.

(b) In addition, the vote of an absentee voter may be challenged:

(1) On the ground that the affidavit filed by the voter in compliance with § 5503 of this title is false; or

(2) On the ground that the self-administered affidavit in the center of the face of the ballot envelope is not signed.

(c) If a challenge is made pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, an absentee judge shall return the ballot to its ballot envelope, shall mark the ballot envelope as "CHALLENGED," and shall set the envelope aside in a secure location for consideration at a later time as provided elsewhere in this title. If a challenge is made pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, an absentee judge shall mark the ballot envelope as "CHALLENGED" and shall set it aside in a secure location for consideration at a later time as provided elsewhere in this title.

(d) All challenges to absentee ballots voted in a particular election district must be resolved before the counting of votes in that election district may be considered complete. Any challenge not resolved by the absentee judges within a reasonable time of the challenge having been made shall be referred for resolution to the county director and deputy county director of the Department in the county where such election district is located.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 14; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5517; 50 Del. Laws, c. 173, § 2; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 135; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 92.;

(a) No vote shall be accepted or counted if:

(1) The affidavit of the absentee voter that appears on the front of the ballot envelope is found to have been altered or is not signed; or

(2) The absentee voter is not a duly registered elector in this State; or

(3) The ballot envelope is open; or

(4) It is evident that the ballot envelope has been opened and resealed;

(5) It is evident that the ballot envelope has been tampered with or altered.

(b) If the ballot envelope has not been opened at the time an absentee judge decides that the offered ballot contained therein should not be accepted or voted for any of the reasons set forth in subsection (a) of this section, it shall not be opened but shall instead be endorsed thereon as, "REJECTED," giving reason therefore.

(c) If the ballot envelope has been opened at the time an absentee judge decides that the offered ballot contained therein should not be accepted or voted for any of the reasons set forth in subsection (a) of this section, the ballot shall be returned to its ballot envelope and the absentee judge shall endorse on the ballot envelope, "REJECTED," giving reason therefore.

(d) Whenever it is made to appear by due proof to an absentee judge that any absentee voter, who has marked and forwarded the absentee voter's ballot, has died, the ballot envelope containing the ballot shall not be opened but shall be marked "REJECTED, DEAD," and shall be preserved and disposed of as other rejected ballots.

(e) Whenever a ballot has not been counted but has been rejected pursuant to this section, the appropriate notation shall be made on the absentee ballot tally and the number of ballots so rejected shall be noted on the certificates of election.

(f) Ballots rejected pursuant to this section shall be deposited in a carrier envelope for the election district to which they apply.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 5518; 50 Del. Laws, c. 173, § 8; 58 Del. Laws, c. 215, § 38; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1.;

If an absentee voter marks and returns an absentee ballot for an election district other than the 1 of which the absentee voter is a resident and a duly registered elector, such ballot, because thereof, shall not be adjudged invalid, but, as indicated by the marking of the ballot by the voter, shall be counted as a vote for every candidate appearing thereon who is a candidate for an office to be duly voted for in the election district.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 17; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5519; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1.;

If any request for an absentee ballot and accompanying envelopes or any marked ballot of any such elector are addressed to and returned to any official other than the department of the county of residence of the absentee elector, then the official shall immediately transfer such request or returned marked ballot to the department of the county of residence of such elector, to be acted upon by the department as provided by this chapter.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 24; 45 Del. Laws, Sp. Sess., c. 5, § 4; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 16; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5520; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1.;

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 24; 45 Del. Laws, Sp. Sess., c. 5, § 4; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 16; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5520; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; repealed by 79 Del. Laws, c. 275 § 93, eff. July 1, 2015. ;

(a) The department of elections of each county shall maintain records providing for the prevention of fraud and to make possible the tracing and detection of any attempt to do so. Such records shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following entries:

(1) The name of elector;

(2) The address at which elector is registered;

(3) The address where ballot is to be mailed;

(4) The date the affidavit is received by the department;

(5) The elector's election and representative district;

(6) The ballot envelope identification number;

(7) The date the ballot is mailed or delivered to the elector; and

(8) The date the ballot is returned.

(b) The department shall compile from its files a list of names and addresses of all applicants for absentee ballots, and shall send current and complete copies thereof without cost to all political parties with candidates on the ballot in the forthcoming election. Such lists shall be provided no later than 2 weeks prior to the date of the election and copies of the lists must be mailed on the same date to the respective chairs of each political party involved in the election. Comparable information from the file shall also be made available to representatives of all political parties at the office of each department during the remaining 2 weeks before the election, such information to be recorded by such representatives from the daily records of the departments with the cooperation and assistance of the employees of the departments.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 16; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 13; 47 Del. Laws, c. 316, § 3; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5522; 57 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 76; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 136; 68 Del. Laws, c. 301, § 16; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1.;

(a) The Department shall maintain records providing for the prevention of fraud and to make possible the tracing and detection of any attempt to do so. Such records shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following entries:

(1) The name of elector;

(2) The address at which elector is registered;

(3) The address where ballot is to be mailed;

(4) The date the affidavit is received by the Department;

(5) The elector's election and representative district;

(6) The ballot envelope identification number;

(7) The date the ballot is mailed or delivered to the elector; and

(8) The date the ballot is returned.

(b) The Department shall compile from its files a list of names and addresses of all applicants for absentee ballots, and shall send current and complete copies thereof without cost to all political parties with candidates on the ballot in the forthcoming election. Such lists shall be provided no later than 2 weeks prior to the date of the election and copies of the lists must be mailed on the same date to the respective chairs of each political party involved in the election. Comparable information from the file shall also be made available to representatives of all political parties at each office of the Department during the remaining 2 weeks before the election, such information to be recorded by such representatives from the daily records of the Department with the cooperation and assistance of the employees thereof.

44 Del. Laws, c. 118, § 16; 45 Del. Laws, c. 155, § 13; 47 Del. Laws, c. 316, § 3; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5522; 57 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 76; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 136; 68 Del. Laws, c. 301, § 16; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 93.;

(a) Any person who qualifies for an absentee ballot pursuant to § 5502(1), (2) or (7) of this title, and who has requested the same, shall qualify for an absentee ballot in all elections conducted under the provisions of this title during the period from receipt of the application following the last general election and through December 31 of the year following the last general election. Additionally, if a person states the duration of his or her absence from the State, their federal post card application (FPCA) shall be valid for that period.

(b) The receipt of a federal post card application from any person eligible to use the FPCA for an absentee ballot who is not registered to vote in Delaware but is eligible to register to vote in Delaware shall serve as an application to register to vote as well as a request and affidavit for an absentee ballot.

(c) A department may send and receive absentee ballot applications, FPCAs, absentee ballots and federal write-in absentee ballots by electronic transmission.

65 Del. Laws, c. 455, § 7; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 188, § 28; 74 Del. Laws, c. 168, § 15; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 134, §§ 1, 2; 77 Del. Laws, c. 269, § 6; 78 Del. Laws, c. 297, § 6.;

(a) Any person who qualifies for an absentee ballot pursuant to § 5502(1), (2) or (7) of this title, and who has requested the same, shall qualify for an absentee ballot in all elections conducted under the provisions of this title during the period from receipt of the application following the last general election and through December 31 of the year following the last general election. Additionally, if a person states the duration of his or her absence from the State, their federal post card application (FPCA) shall be valid for that period.

(b) The receipt of a federal post card application from any person eligible to use the FPCA for an absentee ballot who is not registered to vote in Delaware but is eligible to register to vote in Delaware shall serve as an application to register to vote as well as a request and affidavit for an absentee ballot.

(c) The Department may send and receive absentee ballot applications, FPCAs, absentee ballots and federal write-in absentee ballots by electronic transmission.

65 Del. Laws, c. 455, § 7; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 188, § 28; 74 Del. Laws, c. 168, § 15; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 134, §§ 1, 2; 77 Del. Laws, c. 269, § 6; 78 Del. Laws, c. 297, § 6; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 93.;

(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this title, an elector who qualifies under any of the reasons set forth in § 5502(1), (2) or (7) of this title may, during the calendar year in which an election is to be held for President, United States Senator or Representative in Congress, request a special write-in absentee ballot.

(b) The request for a special write-in absentee ballot may be made on the federal post card application (FPCA) form, or on a form prescribed by the State Election Commissioner.

(c) In order to qualify for a special write-in absentee ballot, the elector must state under oath and under penalty of perjury that the elector is unable to vote by regular absentee ballot or in person due to requirements of military service or due to living in isolated or extremely remote areas of the world.

(d) Upon receipt of an application pursuant to this section, the appropriate department of elections may hold said application until 90 days prior to an election, but shall mail a ballot and the related materials to the elector as soon thereafter as possible. The special write-in absentee ballot shall be in a form prescribed and provided by the State Election Commissioner, and shall permit the elector to vote by writing in a party preference for each office, or the name of the person whom the voter prefers for each office.

65 Del. Laws, c. 455, § 7; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 2.;

(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this title, an elector who qualifies under any of the reasons set forth in § 5502(1), (2) or (7) of this title may, during the calendar year in which an election is to be held for President, United States Senator or Representative in Congress, request a special write-in absentee ballot.

(b) The request for a special write-in absentee ballot may be made on the federal post card application (FPCA) form, or on a form prescribed by the State Election Commissioner.

(c) In order to qualify for a special write-in absentee ballot, the elector must state under oath and under penalty of perjury that the elector is unable to vote by regular absentee ballot or in person due to requirements of military service or due to living in isolated or extremely remote areas of the world.

(d) Upon receipt of an application pursuant to this section, the Department may hold said application until 90 days prior to an election, but shall mail a ballot and the related materials to the elector as soon thereafter as possible. The special write-in absentee ballot shall be in a form prescribed and provided by the State Election Commissioner, and shall permit the elector to vote by writing in a party preference for each office, or the name of the person whom the voter prefers for each office.

65 Del. Laws, c. 455, § 7; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 2; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 93.;

(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this title, an elector who qualifies under any of the reasons set forth in § 5502(7) of this title may:

(1) Use the federal write-in absentee ballot (FWAB) in any election for local, state, or federal offices in this State;

(2) Write on the FWAB the name of a specific candidate for whom the elector wants to vote, the name of the political party of a candidate for a specific office for whom the elector wants to vote, or the name of the political party of all candidates for all offices for whom the elector wants to vote;

(3) Use the FWAB transmission envelope as a registration request simultaneously with the submission of the FWAB if:

a. The voter is otherwise eligible to vote by absentee ballot in this State; and

b. The completed ballot is received no later than the 3rd Monday prior to the date of the election.

(b) Any FWAB received by the wrong department of elections, or by the State Election Commissioner, shall be transferred to the correct department of elections for the county within which the elector's election district is situated.

(c) A person eligible to vote by FWAB may return the ballot, eligibility information and signed oath by electronic transmission. Any person returning the FWAB electronically is deemed to have acknowledged that there may be situations where the secrecy of that person's ballot cannot be guaranteed.

75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 2.;

(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this title, an elector who qualifies under any of the reasons set forth in § 5502(7) of this title may:

(1) Use the federal write-in absentee ballot (FWAB) in any election for local, state, or federal offices in this State;

(2) Write on the FWAB the name of a specific candidate for whom the elector wants to vote, the name of the political party of a candidate for a specific office for whom the elector wants to vote, or the name of the political party of all candidates for all offices for whom the elector wants to vote;

(3) Use the FWAB transmission envelope as a registration request simultaneously with the submission of the FWAB if:

a. The voter is otherwise eligible to vote by absentee ballot in this State; and

b. The completed ballot is received no later than the 3rd Monday prior to the date of the election.

(b) [Repealed.]

(c) A person eligible to vote by FWAB may return the ballot, eligibility information and signed oath by electronic transmission. Any person returning the FWAB electronically is deemed to have acknowledged that there may be situations where the secrecy of that person's ballot cannot be guaranteed.

75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 2; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 94.;

(a) The department of elections for each county shall ensure that each panel of absentee judges selected to officiate the procedures set forth in this chapter within the county represent a politically balanced cross section of the major political parties participating in the election for which absentee ballots are being counted.

(b) The department of elections for each county shall promulgate regulations to ensure the security and integrity of the procedures set forth in this chapter and that the counting process for absentee ballots is not subject to improper influences.

75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1.;

(a) The Department shall ensure that each panel of absentee judges selected to officiate the procedures set forth in this chapter represent a politically balanced cross section of the major political parties participating in the election for which absentee ballots are being counted.

(b) The Department shall promulgate regulations to ensure the security and integrity of the procedures set forth in this chapter and that the counting process for absentee ballots is not subject to improper influences.

75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 95.;

(a) The State Election Commissioner, in consultation with the departments of elections for each county, shall promulgate rules and regulations relating to logic and accuracy testing of absentee ballot tabulating machines.

(b) Rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this section shall ensure that:

(1) All machines are thoroughly tested immediately following maintenance and programming thereof to determine whether:

a. The voting system is properly programmed;

b. The election is correctly defined on the voting system; and

c. All of the voting system input, output, and communication devices are working properly;

(2) Any machine deemed unsatisfactory shall be recoded, repaired, or replaced and shall be retested;

(3) Machines are publicly tested prior to use to ascertain that they will correctly count votes cast for all offices and all measures in the upcoming election;

(4) Public notice of public tests is given at least 7 days prior to the tests being conducted;

(5) The resetting and sealing of each publicly tested machine is witnessed by the election officials, representatives of the political parties, and any candidates or candidate representatives who were in attendance;

(6) Each publicly tested machine is secured following the test in a state of readiness until the day of the election; and

(7) Records are kept of all pre-election testing of each absentee ballot tabulating machine which shall be present and available for inspection and reference during public pre-election testing of that machine by any person in attendance during such testing.

75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1.;

(a) The State Election Commissioner, in consultation with the Department, shall promulgate rules and regulations relating to logic and accuracy testing of absentee ballot tabulating machines.

(b) Rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this section shall ensure that:

(1) All machines are thoroughly tested immediately following maintenance and programming thereof to determine whether:

a. The voting system is properly programmed;

b. The election is correctly defined on the voting system; and

c. All of the voting system input, output, and communication devices are working properly;

(2) Any machine deemed unsatisfactory shall be recoded, repaired, or replaced and shall be retested;

(3) Machines are publicly tested prior to use to ascertain that they will correctly count votes cast for all offices and all measures in the upcoming election;

(4) Public notice of public tests is given at least 7 days prior to the tests being conducted;

(5) The resetting and sealing of each publicly tested machine is witnessed by the election officials, representatives of the political parties, and any candidates or candidate representatives who were in attendance;

(6) Each publicly tested machine is secured following the test in a state of readiness until the day of the election; and

(7) Records are kept of all pre-election testing of each absentee ballot tabulating machine which shall be present and available for inspection and reference during public pre-election testing of that machine by any person in attendance during such testing.

75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 95.;

(a) In the event that a national or local emergency makes substantial compliance with the provisions of this title and/or the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. § 1973ff et seq.) impossible or unreasonable for some of all of the citizens covered under § 5502(1) or (2) of this title, the State Election Commissioner may direct the use of special procedures to facilitate absentee voting for those citizens directly affected who are eligible to vote in the State. Such an emergency may be a natural and/or humanitarian disaster; and/or armed conflict involving United States Armed Forces to include mobilized State National Guard and/or Reserve components.

(b) The State Election Commissioner shall consult with the Governor and the Federal Voting Assistance Program or its successor prior to directing the use of the special procedures cited in subsection (a) of this section.

(c) The State Election Commissioner, in collaboration with the departments of elections for the counties, shall promulgate special procedures to be followed in the event that such a national or local emergency occurs.

74 Del. Laws, c. 168, § 16; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 2.;

(a) In the event that a national or local emergency makes substantial compliance with the provisions of this title and/or the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. § 1973ff et seq.) impossible or unreasonable for some of all of the citizens covered under § 5502(1) or (2) of this title, the State Election Commissioner may direct the use of special procedures to facilitate absentee voting for those citizens directly affected who are eligible to vote in the State. Such an emergency may be a natural and/or humanitarian disaster; and/or armed conflict involving United States Armed Forces to include mobilized State National Guard and/or Reserve components.

(b) The State Election Commissioner shall consult with the Governor and the Federal Voting Assistance Program or its successor prior to directing the use of the special procedures cited in subsection (a) of this section.

(c) The State Election Commissioner, in collaboration with the Department, shall promulgate special procedures to be followed in the event that such a national or local emergency occurs.

74 Del. Laws, c. 168, § 16; 75 Del. Laws, c. 149, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 2; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 95.;

(a) The provisions of this section apply to persons eligible to vote under the provisions of the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff, et seq.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this title, upon receipt of a written request on a federal post card application that includes an applicant's electronic address, the Department of Elections for the county in which the applicant is domiciled (Department) shall electronically deliver to an applicant that applicant's own absentee ballot, appropriate instructions and any other information the applicant needs to vote and return that applicant's own ballot.

(c) The Department shall transmit to the applicant an absentee ballot, instructions and other necessary information within 3 business days following receipt of a request from an applicant. If ballots are not available when the Department receives this request, the Department shall transmit a ballot, instructions and other necessary information to the applicant within 5 business days after the ballots become available.

(d) An applicant who is sent a ballot electronically may return such ballot via postal mail, courier or electronic means in accordance with the instructions sent with the ballot. A voter who returns a ballot electronically is deemed to have acknowledged that there may be situations where the secrecy of that voter's ballot cannot be guaranteed.

(e) A person who returns a ballot electronically shall also return a signed oath and identification information with the ballot. The oath may be signed digitally as provided in the instructions sent by the respective department of elections to the voter.

(f) The State Election Commissioner, in collaboration with the county departments of elections, shall establish procedures for electronically delivering absentee ballots to the voters with instructions for the voters to follow in voting and electronically returning their ballots to the respective department of elections.

76 Del. Laws, c. 67, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 4.;

(a) The provisions of this section apply to persons eligible to vote under the provisions of the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff, et seq.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this title, upon receipt of a written request on a federal post card application that includes an applicant's electronic address, the Department shall electronically deliver to an applicant that applicant's own absentee ballot, appropriate instructions and any other information the applicant needs to vote and return that applicant's own ballot.

(c) The Department shall transmit to the applicant an absentee ballot, instructions and other necessary information within 3 business days following receipt of a request from an applicant. If ballots are not available when the Department receives this request, the Department shall transmit a ballot, instructions and other necessary information to the applicant within 5 business days after the ballots become available.

(d) An applicant who is sent a ballot electronically may return such ballot via postal mail, courier or electronic means in accordance with the instructions sent with the ballot. A voter who returns a ballot electronically is deemed to have acknowledged that there may be situations where the secrecy of that voter's ballot cannot be guaranteed.

(e) A person who returns a ballot electronically shall also return a signed oath and identification information with the ballot. The oath may be signed digitally as provided in the instructions sent by the Department to the voter.

(f) The State Election Commissioner, in collaboration with the Department, shall establish procedures for electronically delivering absentee ballots to the voters with instructions for the voters to follow in voting and electronically returning their ballots to the respective department of elections.

76 Del. Laws, c. 67, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 4; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 95.;

The State Election Commissioner in collaboration with the departments of elections shall establish a free access system accessible via the internet through which a person who applied for an absentee ballot can determine whether or not the ballot application was received, when the ballot was transmitted, when the voted ballot was received by the appropriate departments of elections, and whether or not the ballot was counted.

77 Del. Laws, c. 269, § 7; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The State Election Commissioner, in collaboration with the Department, shall establish a free access system accessible via the internet through which a person who applied for an absentee ballot can determine whether or not the ballot application was received, when the ballot was transmitted, when the voted ballot was received by the Department, and whether or not the ballot was counted.

77 Del. Laws, c. 269, § 7; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 95.;

The State Election Commissioner in collaboration with the departments of elections shall implement those provisions of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voters Act [42 U.S.C. § 1973ff et seq.] not specifically mandated by this chapter.

77 Del. Laws, c. 269, § 8.;

The State Election Commissioner, in collaboration with the Department, shall implement those provisions of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voters Act (42 U.S.C. § 1973ff et seq.) not specifically mandated by this chapter.

77 Del. Laws, c. 269, § 8; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 95.;