Administrative Agencies

CHAPTER 1. Purpose and Meaning of Election Laws

§ 101. Definitions.

As used in this title:

(1) “Ballot” means those portions of cardboard, paper or other material to be placed within the ballot frames of a voting machine or to be used for absentee voting in order to list the names of the offices to be voted for, the name of each candidate and the designation of the party by which the candidate is nominated, a space for the voter to write in the name of any candidate of that voter’s choice for any office, and the statement of any question submitted with provision for a “yes” or “no” vote.

(2) “Board of Elections” or “Board” means that body of individuals appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate to serve or who otherwise serve as the State Board of Elections in accordance with Chapter 2 of this title, and are, as such, vested with the responsibility and power to see to the administration of the election laws of this State as more particularly defined in this title.

(3) “Clerk” means clerk of election.

(4) “Commissioner” means the State Election Commissioner.

(5) “County committee” means the regularly organized and constituted county committee or governing authority of a political party.

(6) “Department” means the State Department of Elections, consisting of the State Board of Elections and such staff as the Board shall appoint under this title, but shall not include the State Election Commissioner. The Department, under the direction of the Board of Elections, shall administer the election laws of this State as defined in this title.

(7) “Election District Record” shall no longer mean the binders which contain, among other information, voter registration record (sometimes referred to as “Blues”), and shall hereafter mean the electronic records or the print out reflecting said electronic records as designated by the Department of Elections.

(8) “Election Management System” refers to the computer programs and databases managed by the State Election Commissioner and used by the State Election Commissioner and the Department of Elections to maintain voter registration records, to manage absentee voting, maintain election officer information, maintain polling place information, structure elections and for other purposes.

(9) “Election officers” means the inspector of election, the 2 judges of election and the clerks of election who are appointed for each election district under § 4702 of this title.

(10) “Independent,” “decline” or words equivalent thereto means any person who at the time of registration does not choose to be affiliated with a political party as defined in this section.

(11) “Inspector” means inspector of elections.

(12) “Judge” means judge of elections.

(13) “Local office” means any political district smaller than the State, including municipal, county, state representative or state senatorial.

(14) “Mobile registration” means any voter registration sponsored or conducted by the Department of Elections outside of any office of the Department.

(15) “Party” or “political party” means any political organization which elects a state committee and officers of a state committee, by a state convention composed of delegates elected from each representative district in which the party has registered members, and which nominates candidates for electors of President and Vice-President, or nominates candidates for offices to be decided at the general election. All political parties shall be divided into 2 classes:

a. “Major political party” means any political party which, as of December 31 of the year immediately preceding any general election year, has registered in the name of that party voters equal to at least 5 percent of the total number of voters registered in the State.

b. “Minor political party” means any political party which does not qualify as a major political party.

(16) “Primary ballots” means paper ballots used with ballot boxes or ballots used in voting machines.

(17) “Primary election” means an election at which voters registered as members of a major political party may vote to determine the nominees of that political party for the general election.

(18) “Principal political parties” or words equivalent thereto will be the 2 political parties which have the highest total voter registration in this State.

(19) “Protective counter” means a separate counter built into the voting machine, which cannot be reset, which records the total number of movements of the operating lever.

(20) “Question” means any proposition or other question to be submitted to the voters.

(21) “Registration officers” means the registrar, assistant registrar and alternate registrars appointed by the Department as defined in this section.

(22) “Registration record” means a voter’s registration record maintained in the State’s Election Management System, the list or file of registered voters sent to each election district for use by election officers on the day of the election, and until determined obsolete, it also applies to a voter’s record maintained in the county master file.

(23) “Reports Appeals Subcommittee” or “Subcommittee” means the Reports Appeals Subcommittee of the State Board of Elections.

(24) “Signature” means both a written signature conforming to § 302(23) of Title 1 and a digital or electronic signature that is an electronic sound, symbol or process attached to or logically associated with a document and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the document as specified by the State Election Commissioner.

(25) “State chair” means the highest executive officer of a political party of this State.

(26) “State committee” means the regularly organized and constituted statewide governing authority of a political party in this State.

(27) “Unaffiliated candidate” means any individual who files a declaration as a candidate for any office to be decided at the general election and who is not affiliated with any political party and has not been thus affiliated for at least 3 months prior to the filing of that individual’s declaration.

15 Del. C. 1953, §  101;  49 Del. Laws, c. 4, §  557 Del. Laws, c. 181, §  157 Del. Laws, c. 567, §§  1, 1A, 257 Del. Laws, c. 695, §  158 Del. Laws, c. 148, §§  1, 260 Del. Laws, c. 414, §  160 Del. Laws, c. 446, §§  1, 261 Del. Laws, c. 418, §§  3-561 Del. Laws, c. 480, §  170 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  170 Del. Laws, c. 505, §  175 Del. Laws, c. 232, §§  1, 277 Del. Laws, c. 227, §  278 Del. Laws, c. 304, §  179 Del. Laws, c. 275, §  180 Del. Laws, c. 394, § 182 Del. Laws, c. 170, § 1

§ 101A. Purpose.

The purpose of this title is to assure the people’s right to free and equal elections, as guaranteed by our state Constitution. To that end, the full exercise of that right demands that the people be afforded the means to form political parties, nominate candidates and cast ballots for whomever they choose. At the same time, however, lengthy ballots which list a profusion of political parties and unaffiliated candidates, many of which are not serious contenders and lack even a modicum of community support, tend to create voter confusion and to clog the election machinery.

To secure the right to free and equal elections and to preserve the integrity of the democratic political process, it is essential that an orderly system be established:

(1) For the registration of voters and the preservation of voter registration records;

(2) To encourage public participation in political parties and to demonstrate sufficient community support of these parties by permitting voters to affiliate with the party of their choice, if they so desire, on their voter registration records;

(3) To provide a means by which political parties and unaffiliated candidates, which have demonstrated a meaningful level of community support, may qualify for listing on the general election ballot;

(4) For the orderly and fair selection of party nominees by primary election or political party convention, and for the filling of vacancies among such nominees;

(5) To provide for the free exercise of the write-in vote for both politically affiliated and unaffiliated candidates who may not qualify for listing on the general election ballot;

(6) For the conduct of primary and general elections;

(7) For the certification of election results and the resolution of election contests;

(8) To provide criminal penalties and civil liability for violation of the laws set forth in this title;

(9) To provide for all such other matters, related to the electoral process, as may be set forth herein.

61 Del. Laws, c. 418, §  2

§ 102. Deadline interpretation in this title.

Except for deadlines that are specifically set on a Saturday, Sunday or a holiday, all deadlines in this title that fall on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday shall be the next official business day at 4:30 p.m.

76 Del. Laws, c. 197, §  1

§§ 103-120.