TITLE 15

Elections

General Elections

CHAPTER 57. CANVASS OF VOTE AND PROCLAMATION OF RESULTS OF ELECTION


(a) The Superior Court shall convene in each county on the 2nd day after the general election at 10 a.m., for the performance of the duties imposed upon it by § 6 of article V of the Constitution of this State and by this chapter. Thereupon the Court, with the aid of such of its officers and such sworn assistants as it shall appoint, shall publicly ascertain the state of the election throughout the county and in the respective election districts by calculating the aggregate amount of all the votes for each office that shall have been given in all of the election districts of the county for every person voted for such office. For this purpose, the Court shall utilize the voting machine recording tapes, voting machine certificates, absentee vote tally sheets and write-in vote tally sheets for each election district provided by the Prothonotary and the Department of Elections for its county, whose representatives shall sit as observers and assistants to the Court during said calculation of the vote.

(b) For the purposes of this chapter, the Superior Court shall consist in New Castle County of the President Judge and the Resident Judge; in Kent County of the Resident Judge and a Judge designated by the President Judge; and in Sussex County of the Resident Judge and a Judge designated by the President Judge. For the purpose of this chapter, the Superior Court in each county, as so constituted, shall be a board of canvass for the respective counties of this State.

Code 1852, § 402; 21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 23; Code 1915, §§ 1777, 1859; Code 1935, §§ 1866, 1978; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5701; 61 Del. Laws, c. 480, § 18; 72 Del. Laws, c. 434, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 213, § 39; 79 Del. Laws, c. 25, § 1.;

(a) The Superior Court shall convene in each county on the 2nd day after the general election at 10 a.m., for the performance of the duties imposed upon it by § 6 of article V of the Constitution of this State and by this chapter. Thereupon the Court, with the aid of such of its officers and such sworn assistants as it shall appoint, shall publicly ascertain the state of the election throughout the county and in the respective election districts by calculating the aggregate amount of all the votes for each office that shall have been given in all of the election districts of the county for every person voted for such office. For this purpose, the Court shall utilize the voting machine recording tapes, voting machine certificates, absentee vote tally sheets and write-in vote tally sheets for each election district provided by the Prothonotary and the Department, whose representatives shall sit as observers and assistants to the Court during said calculation of the vote.

(b) For the purposes of this chapter, the Superior Court shall consist in New Castle County of the President Judge and the Resident Judge; in Kent County of the Resident Judge and a Judge designated by the President Judge; and in Sussex County of the Resident Judge and a Judge designated by the President Judge. For the purpose of this chapter, the Superior Court in each county, as so constituted, shall be a board of canvass for the respective counties of this State.

Code 1852, § 402; 21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 23; Code 1915, §§ 1777, 1859; Code 1935, §§ 1866, 1978; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5701; 61 Del. Laws, c. 480, § 18; 72 Del. Laws, c. 434, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 213, § 39; 79 Del. Laws, c. 25, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 96.;

(a) Whenever the voting machine recording tapes, voting machine certificates, absentee vote tally sheets, write-in vote tally sheets and absentee ballot box for any election district are not produced when the Court convenes or whenever any voting machine is not available by 12:00 noon, the Court may issue summary process against the election officers of such election district or any other persons to bring such documents or objects forthwith into the Court or to make them available for inspection by the Court.

(b) Whenever the documents produced do not agree or there is a complaint under oath of fraud or mistake in any such document, or if fraud, mistake or omission is apparent on the face of such document, the Court shall:

(1) Open and examine the necessary voting machines and/or absentee ballot boxes;

(2) Make a recount of the votes contained therein;

(3) Correct any fraud, mistake or omission in any document or paper relating to the election.

(c) Any candidate for statewide office in a general election may apply to the Court for a recount of all the ballots cast and recorded for such office if the number of votes separating such candidate and the closest opposing candidate is less than 1,000 votes or less than one half of one percent of all votes cast for the two candidates, whichever amount is less. Such recount shall thereupon be conducted by the Court at state expense. The request for a recount under this subsection must be presented before the adjournment of the board of canvass for the election in question and any recount that takes place shall not extend beyond the petitioner's contest.

(d) The Court shall also receive from the department of election for its county a report of the number of absentee ballots delivered to each election district, from which it shall determine and make certain that all these ballots are recorded on the absentee vote tally sheets for each election district receiving absentee ballots, either in the total number of ballots counted or in the number of ballots rejected.

(e) In the event that the number of votes separating a candidate and the closest opposing candidate in an election for State Senator, State Representative or county office is less than 1,000 votes or one half of 1 percent of all votes cast for the 2 candidates, whichever is less, the Court shall recount the absentee ballots cast in that election at State expense.

21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 23; Code 1915, § 1777; Code 1935, § 1866; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5702; 58 Del. Laws, c. 215, § 39; 61 Del. Laws, c. 480, § 19; 65 Del. Laws, c. 519, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 434, §§ 2, 3; 75 Del. Laws, c. 232, § 65.;

(a) Whenever the voting machine recording tapes, voting machine certificates, absentee vote tally sheets, write-in vote tally sheets and absentee ballot box for any election district are not produced when the Court convenes or whenever any voting machine is not available by 12:00 noon, the Court may issue summary process against the election officers of such election district or any other persons to bring such documents or objects forthwith into the Court or to make them available for inspection by the Court.

(b) Whenever the documents produced do not agree or there is a complaint under oath of fraud or mistake in any such document, or if fraud, mistake or omission is apparent on the face of such document, the Court shall:

(1) Open and examine the necessary voting machines and/or absentee ballot boxes;

(2) Make a recount of the votes contained therein;

(3) Correct any fraud, mistake or omission in any document or paper relating to the election.

(c) Any candidate for statewide office in a general election may apply to the Court for a recount of all the ballots cast and recorded for such office if the number of votes separating such candidate and the closest opposing candidate is less than 1,000 votes or less than one half of one percent of all votes cast for the two candidates, whichever amount is less. Such recount shall thereupon be conducted by the Court at state expense. The request for a recount under this subsection must be presented before the adjournment of the board of canvass for the election in question and any recount that takes place shall not extend beyond the petitioner's contest.

(d) The Court shall also receive from the Department a report of the number of absentee ballots delivered to each election district, from which it shall determine and make certain that all these ballots are recorded on the absentee vote tally sheets for each election district receiving absentee ballots, either in the total number of ballots counted or in the number of ballots rejected.

(e) In the event that the number of votes separating a candidate and the closest opposing candidate in an election for State Senator, State Representative or county office is less than 1,000 votes or one half of 1 percent of all votes cast for the 2 candidates, whichever is less, the Court shall recount the absentee ballots cast in that election at State expense.

21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 23; Code 1915, § 1777; Code 1935, § 1866; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5702; 58 Del. Laws, c. 215, § 39; 61 Del. Laws, c. 480, § 19; 65 Del. Laws, c. 519, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 434, §§ 2, 3; 75 Del. Laws, c. 232, § 65; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 96.;

In all elections, unless it be otherwise expressly provided, a plurality or the highest number of votes shall make a choice, except where this principle is defeated by 2 or more persons having the same and the highest number of votes for the same office.

Code 1852, § 300; Code 1915, § 1811; Code 1935, § 1900; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5703.;

The Court shall calculate the votes given for the candidates for President and Vice-President of a political party as votes given for each and all the electors of President and Vice-President of such party, the names of whom are on file with the State Election Commissioner and as certified to the Court by the State Election Commissioner, and the Court shall make its certificates accordingly in the form and manner provided by §§ 5705-5707 of this title.

Code 1935, § 1814A; 44 Del. Laws, c. 119, § 4; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5704; 61 Del. Laws, c. 480, § 20.;

(a) After the state of the election has been ascertained by calculating the votes, the Court shall make, under the seal of the Court, the certificates of the results of the election as provided in this section and §§ 5706 and 5707 of this title.

(b) The number of such certificates to be prepared by the Court for each office shall be as follows:

Electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, 3;

Governor, 4;

Lieutenant Governor, 4;

Senator in the Senate of the United States, 2;

Representative in the House of Representatives of the United States, 2;

Attorney General, 4;

Insurance Commissioner, 4;

State Treasurer, 4;

Auditor of Accounts, 4;

Senator to the General Assembly, 2 for each Senator;

Representative to the General Assembly, 2 for each Representative;

Clerk of the Peace, 2;

Register of Wills, 2;

Recorder, 2;

Levy Court Commissioner, 1 for each Commissioner;

Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer, 1;

County Comptroller, 1;

Sheriff, 2;

County Executive of New Castle County, 1;

County Council member of New Castle County, 1 for each Council member;

County Council member of Sussex County, 1 for each Council member.

21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 25; Code 1915, § 1779; Code 1935, § 1868; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5705; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 34B; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 33B; 72 Del. Laws, c. 434, § 4; 73 Del. Laws, c. 91, § 10.;

(a) The certificates of the Court of the results of the election in its county may be according to the following form:

"The State of Delaware,................ County, ss.

Be it Remembered, that at the general election held on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in the year of our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred and................ for................ County, according to the Constitution and laws of the State of Delaware (here insert, to wit: If the certificate be of an election of electors of President and Vice-President, of Governor and Lieutenant Governor, of Senator in the Senate of the United States, of Representative in Congress, of Attorney General, of Insurance Commissioner, of State Treasurer, of Auditor of Accounts, the number in words at length of votes given for each person voted for, for such respective offices; if the certificate be of an election of Senator or Representative in the General Assembly, or, of clerk of the peace, of register of wills, of recorder, of Levy Court Commissioner or Commissioners, of receiver of taxes and county treasurer, of county comptroller, of sheriff, of county executive, of county council member, the names of the persons elected), which is manifest by calculating and ascertaining the aggregate amount of all votes given for each person voted for in all the election districts of the county, according to the provisions made by law in this behalf.

In testimony, whereof, we............. and............. constituting the Superior Court for.............. County, who have met and ascertained the state of the election throughout the said County, as the law requires, have hereunto set our hands and caused the seal of the said Superior Court to be hereunto affixed at the Court House in said County, on this............. day of November, A. D............."

(b) The manner of making the insertion may be as follows:

votes were given for....... for Elector

votes were given for....... for Elector and so on, naming each person voted for.

votes were given for....... for Governor

votes were given for....... for Governor and so on, naming each person voted for.

votes were given for....... for Lieutenant Governor

votes were given for....... for Lieutenant Governor and so on, naming each person voted for.

votes were given for....... for United States Senator

votes were given for....... for United States Senator and so on, naming each person voted for.

votes were given for....... for Representative to Congress

votes were given for....... for Representative to Congress and so on, naming each person voted for.

votes were given for....... for Attorney General

votes were given for....... for Attorney General and so on, naming each person voted for.

votes were given for....... for Insurance Commissioner

votes were given for....... for Insurance Commissioner and so on, naming each person voted for.

votes were given for....... for State Treasurer

votes were given for....... for State Treasurer and so on, naming each person voted for.

votes were given for....... for Auditor of Accounts

votes were given for....... for Auditor of Accounts and so on, naming each person voted for.

was duly elected Senator for the........ Senatorial District for said County in the General Assembly, (and so on, giving certificates for each Senator elected in the respective senatorial districts of the county) and was duly elected Senator for the....... Senatorial District for said County in lieu of....... late Senator for said Senatorial District of said County in the General Assembly (and so on, giving certificates for each Senator elected in lieu of any other Senator for any senatorial district for said county in the General Assembly).

was duly elected Representative for the....... Representative District for said County in the General Assembly (and so on, giving certificates for each Representative elected in the respective representative districts of the County).

was duly elected Clerk of the Peace for....... County.

was duly elected Register of Wills for....... County.

was duly elected Recorder for....... County.

was duly elected County Executive for New Castle County.

was duly elected County Council member for the....... Councilmemberic District in New Castle County; and so on, giving a certificate for each Council member elected in each Councilmemberic District in New Castle County.

was duly elected Council member for the....... Councilmemberic District in Sussex County; and so on, giving a certificate for each Council member elected in each Councilmemberic District in Sussex County.

was duly elected Levy Court Commissioner for....... District in said County (and so on, giving a certificate for each Levy Court Commissioner elected in each District in said County).

was duly elected Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer for....... County.

was duly elected County Comptroller for....... County.

was duly elected Sheriff for....... County.

21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 26; Code 1915, § 1780; Code 1935, § 1869; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5706; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, §§ 34C, 34D; 57 Del. Laws, c. 169, § 5; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 33D; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 434, §§ 5, 6; 73 Del. Laws, c. 91, § 11.;

The Court shall enclose and seal up each certificate separately in an envelope, with an endorsement thereon describing the certificate enclosed. Upon the paper enclosing the certificates of the election of Senator or Representative in the General Assembly the name of the person chosen shall be endorsed.

21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 25; Code 1915, § 1779; Code 1935, § 1868; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5707.;

If, by reason of an equal number of votes having been cast for 2 or more persons for the office of Senator or Representative in the General Assembly, clerk of the peace, register of wills, recorder, levy court commissioner, receiver of taxes and county treasurer, county comptroller or sheriff, county executive or county council member, it appears to the Court that a vacancy will occur in the office, a certificate of such fact shall thereupon be made under the hands of the Court, and under its seal, which certificate shall be transmitted by the Court to the Governor, and such certificate shall be delivered as provided in § 5709 of this title.

21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 27; Code 1915, § 1781; Code 1935, § 1870; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5708; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 34E; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 434, § 7; 73 Del. Laws, c. 91, § 12.;

(a) The Court shall, within 3 days after making the certificates of the result of the election for electors of President and Vice-President, either personally or by a person deputed by it for that purpose:

(1) Transmit, deliver and lodge the certificates of the result of the election for electors of President and Vice-President, 1 to the Governor, another to the Secretary of State, and the other to the Prothonotary of the county; and

(2) Transmit, deliver and lodge the certificates of the result of the election for Governor, according to the directions of the Constitution in that behalf; and

(3) Transmit, deliver and lodge 1 of the certificates of the result of the election for Lieutenant Governor to the President of the Senate, or in case of a vacancy in the office of President of the Senate, or the President of the Senate's absence from the State, to the Secretary of State, who shall keep the same until a President of the Senate shall be chosen, to whom they shall be immediately transmitted after the President of the Senate's election, who shall open and publish the same in the presence of the members of both Houses of the General Assembly, duplicates of which certificate shall also be immediately lodged with the Prothonotary of each county; and

(4) Transmit, deliver and lodge 1 of each of the certificates of the result of the election for Senator, or Senators, from the State in the Senate of the United States, to the Governor, and lodge the other of such certificates in the office of the clerk of the peace of the county; and

(5) Transmit, deliver and lodge 1 of each certificate of the result of the election for Representative, or Representatives, in the House of Representatives of the United States, to the Governor, and lodge the other certificate in the office of the clerk of the peace of the county; and

(6) Transmit, deliver and lodge 1 certificate of the result of the election for Attorney General, for Insurance Commissioner, for State Treasurer and for Auditor of Accounts to the Governor and the other certificate in the office of the Prothonotary of the county; and

(7) Transmit and deliver 1 certificate of the result of the election of Senator and 1 certificate of the election of Representative in the General Assembly, in the office of the Prothonotary for Kent County, and further shall deliver, on the first day of the meeting of the General Assembly after the election, the other certificate of the election of Senator to the Senate, and the other certificate of the election of Representatives to the House of Representatives; and

(8) Transmit and deliver 1 certificate of the election of the clerk of the peace, of register of wills, of recorder, and of sheriff, to the Governor, and the other certificate to the clerk of the peace of the county, except the 1 for clerk of the peace, which shall be delivered to the Prothonotary; and

(9) Transmit and deliver the certificate of the election of each Levy Court Commissioner or County Council member, in New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties, to the clerk of the peace of the respective county; and

(10) Deliver the certificate of election of the receiver of taxes and county treasurer, and of comptroller, to the clerk of the peace of the county; and

(11) Send 1 for each of such officers to the sheriff of the county to be by that sheriff delivered to the respective parties certified to have been elected.

(b) The Prothonotary of Kent County shall, on any day of the meeting of the General Assembly, deliver, if required, the certificates of election of Senators or of Representatives to the order of the House to which it belongs, or to the person named in the endorsement thereon.

(c) In addition to making the disposition of the aforesaid certificates, the Court, within 3 days after making such certificates, shall, either personally or by a person designated by it for that purpose, transmit, deliver and lodge a duly executed copy of each of the aforesaid certificates with the State Election Commissioner who shall be the master repository of all such certificates.

21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 28; Code 1915, § 1782; 34 Del. Laws, c. 110, § 2; Code 1935, § 1871; 46 Del. Laws, c. 153, § 1; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5709; 57 Del. Laws, c. 567, § 52; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 434, § 8; 73 Del. Laws, c. 91, § 13.;

The Governor, after receiving the certificates of the results of the election in each county, under the seal of the Superior Court, for the office of Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, State Treasurer and Auditor of Accounts, or any of whom shall have been voted for at the preceding general election, shall, without delay, examine the returns and declare the persons elected, and shall issue certificates of such election under the Governor's own hand, and the same, together with the aforesaid certificates of the results of the election in each county, shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of State, and the Governor shall by proclamation make public the state of the vote by causing the same to be published in 1 or more of the public newspapers of the respective counties of this State, and shall issue commissions to the persons.

21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 32; Code 1915, § 1786; Code 1935, § 1875; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5711; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The Governor, after receiving the certificates under the seal of the Superior Court, of the results of the election in each county for electors of President and Vice-President of the United States, shall without delay examine the certificates and ascertain the electors chosen, and make known the same by proclamation, and cause notice of the elector's election to be transmitted to each elector. The Governor shall also cause 3 lists of the names of the electors, duly made and certified, to be delivered to the electors, according to the Act of Congress in that behalf on or before the day appointed for their meeting.

Code 1852, §§ 402, 403; Code 1915, §§ 1859, 1860; Code 1935, §§ 1978, 1979; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5712; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The Governor, after receiving the certificates, under the seal of the Superior Court, of the results of the election in each county for Representative in the Congress of the United States, shall without delay examine such certificates and declare the person elected, and shall issue certificates of such election, 1 of which the Governor shall transmit to the Secretary of State of the United States, and 1 to the person elected, under the Governor's own hand and the Great Seal of the State. The certificates of the result of the election in each county shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of State. The Governor shall by proclamation make public the state of the vote by causing the same to be published in 1 or more of the public newspapers of this State.

Code 1852, § 414; Code 1915, § 1879; Code 1935, § 1998; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5713; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) The Governor, after receiving the certificates under the seal of the Superior Court, of the results of the election in each county for Senator from this State in the Senate of the United States, shall issue certificates of such election and deliver and file the same and shall, by proclamation, make public the state of the vote, in the same manner and form, by the same persons and officers, and under the same regulations in all respects as is provided in § 5712 of this title for the election of Representative in Congress.

(b) The Governor shall certify the election or appointment of any Senator elected or appointed as provided by law, under the Great Seal of the State, to the President of the Senate of the United States. Such certificate shall be countersigned by the Secretary of State.

(c) The certificate, in case of an election, may be according to the following form:

"To the President of the Senate of the United States: Be it known that at an election, in due manner held according to the form of the Act of the General Assembly of the State of Delaware, and of the Act of Congress in such case made and provided, on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of the month of November,......,................ was elected to be a Senator from the said State in the Senate of the United States for the constitutional term to commence at noon on the third day of January A. D...........Given under our hands in obedience to the said Act of the General Assembly and of the said Act of Congress this.......... day of......... A. D........."

Code 1915, §§ 1889, 1892; Code 1935, §§ 2008, 2010; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 5714.;

All necessary costs and expenses incurred in carrying out the duties of this chapter including compensation of all personnel involved shall be paid by the State Treasurer from any moneys in the State Treasury not otherwise appropriated.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 5717; 57 Del. Laws, c. 567, § 53; 66 Del. Laws, c. 53, § 1.;

(a) The Court shall calculate the total votes given for the candidates for Senator or Representative to the General Assembly where the senatorial or representative district is located in 2 or more counties as follows:

(1) For those senatorial or representative districts in which a majority of the election districts are in New Castle County, the President Judge of the Superior Court shall total together the votes cast in each county for each candidate.

(2) For those senatorial or representative districts in which a majority of the election districts are in Kent County, the Chancellor shall total together the votes cast in each county for each candidate.

(3) For those senatorial or representative districts in which a majority of the election districts are in Sussex County, the Resident Judge of Sussex County shall total together the votes cast in each county for each candidate.

(b) The total vote, as ascertained in subsection (a) of this section above shall then be inserted on the certificates of the Court as provided in § 5706 of this title.

15 Del. C. 1953, § 5718; 58 Del. Laws, c. 445; 72 Del. Laws, c. 434, § 9; 76 Del. Laws, c. 213, § 40.;