§ 4931 Time and manner of opening election.
The general election shall be opened in every election district at 7:00 in the morning, by the inspector making proclamation that the election is open.
21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 17; 23 Del. Laws, c. 57; Code 1915, § 1756; 32 Del. Laws, c. 100, § 1; Code 1935, § 1845; 44 Del. Laws, c. 124; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 4931; 50 Del. Laws, c. 22, § 1; 50 Del. Laws, c. 172, § 1.;
§ 4932 Location of election officers within voting room; location and care of voting machine [Repealed].
21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 15; 22 Del. Laws, c. 63; 27 Del. Laws, c. 65, § 20; Code 1915, § 1754; Code 1935, § 1843; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 4932; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 81; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 506, § 8; repealed by 82 Del. Laws, c. 170, § 24, effective July 30, 2019.;
§ 4933 Persons permitted in the voting room.
(a) The following persons shall be admitted to the voting room:
(1) Members and employees of the Department identified by a badge or written authorization;
(2) The State Election Commissioner and the Commissioner’s employees identified by a badge or written authorization;
(3) Persons voting and waiting to vote, or a child lawfully accompanying such person pursuant to § 4937(e) of this title, or a person providing voter assistance pursuant to § 4943 of this title;
(4) One challenger from a political party with a candidate on the ballot as provided in § 4934 of this title;
(5) Any people accompanied by persons listed in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section above;
(6) Persons with business in the building that is not connected to the election. For example: an athletic team picking up or dropping off equipment at their school. Such persons shall remain outside of the voting room except to pass through or by the voting room in the conduct of their business;
(7) A person or persons deemed necessary to the conduct of the election by majority vote of the inspector and judges.
(b) No other person except as noted below shall be permitted within 50 feet of any entrance to the building used by voters.
(c) Media and persons conducting exit polls shall be permitted within the 50-foot exclusion zone, but may not talk to persons who have not voted while in the 50-foot exclusion zone.
21 Del. Laws, c. 38, §§ 15, 16; 22 Del. Laws, c. 63; Code 1915, §§ 1754, 1755; Code 1935, §§ 1843, 1844; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 4933; 57 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 53; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 82; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 232, § 59; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 2; 79 Del. Laws, c. 275, § 76; 80 Del. Laws, c. 343, § 1.;
§ 4934 Challengers; appointment and powers.
(a) Each of the political parties, acting through their respective county committees, may appoint and accredit some suitable person as a challenger. One challenger from any political party which is represented by a candidate in that district may be present inside the polling place and shall be permitted to observe the conduct of the election and all the election records. The challengers may be changed and their places filled in like manner during the day.
(b) The challengers shall be peace officers with the same powers preserving the peace as election officers and the challengers shall be protected in the discharge of their duty by the election officers; provided, however, the challengers shall not create any disturbance or obstruction and shall not unreasonably prolong any challenge or inquiry. The inspector and judges shall each have the duty to caution the challengers concerning the foregoing and, if the challenger persists, that challenger may be ejected by a majority vote of the judges and the inspector. Provided, further, that nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent a substitution of another challenger for one who has been ejected.
(c) If a challenger is ejected as provided in subsection (b) of this section and the inspector or judges who voted for such ejection wilfully voted for ejection without cause, each such inspector or judge so voting shall be deemed to have knowingly and wilfully violated that inspector’s or judge’s official duty.
19 Del. Laws, c. 37, § 2; 19 Del. Laws, c. 39, § 14; 20 Del. Laws, c. 396, § 3; 27 Del. Laws, c. 65, § 2; Code 1915, § 1740; Code 1935, § 1829; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 4934; 57 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 54; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;
§ 4935 Special officers at entrance of polling place [Repealed].
Repealed by 75 Del. Laws, c. 232, § 60, effective Feb. 1, 2006.
§ 4936 Order of voting; determination of challenge.
Voters shall approach and enter the passage in the order in which they appear for the purpose of voting. If any person offering to vote is challenged by 1 of the challengers or by any 1 of the election officers, such person’s right to vote shall be immediately determined in accordance with this title. If such person’s vote is refused, that person shall be offered the right to vote by provisional ballot. If the person refuses to vote by provisional ballot, that person shall immediately stand aside, give place to the person next in line and leave the polling place.
19 Del. Laws, c. 37, § 17; 27 Del. Laws, c. 65, § 15; Code 1915, § 1757; Code 1935, § 1846; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 4937; 57 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 57; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 232, § 61.;
§ 4937 Voting procedure.
(a) A voter, upon entering the room where an election is being held, shall announce that voter’s own name and address and provide proof of identity, whereupon the clerks shall place a mark or make a notation of his or her name upon the election district record. In the event the voter does not have proof of identity with them, the voter shall sign an affidavit of affirmation that the voter is the person listed on the election district record.
(b) If it appears that the voter is properly registered, an election officer shall hand to the voter a voter signature card which the voter shall sign. In the event that the voter is unable to sign a voter signature card for any reason the election officer shall sign the voter’s name on the voter signature card and the election officer’s name and make note that the voter is unable to personally sign the card.
(c) In the event of a challenge as to the identity of the voter or residency of the voter, the voter’s right to vote shall be determined by a majority vote of the inspector and the 2 judges of the election. In the event that the voter is not permitted to vote, the voter’s signature card shall be marked “not permitted to vote” and signed by 2 election officers and shall be forwarded to the department at the same time and in the same manner as other voter signature cards are sent to the department.
(d) If the voter is not challenged or if a challenge is decided in the voter’s favor, 1 of the election officers to be stationed at the entrance of the voting machine shall announce the name of the voter and permit the voter to pass through the entrance to the booth of the voting machine for the purpose of casting the voter’s vote. No voter shall remain in the voting machine longer than 3 minutes, unless for good and sufficient reason the voter be granted a longer period of time by the election officers in charge. When the voter has cast a vote, the voter shall at once leave the room. If the voter refuses to leave after a reasonable period, they shall be removed by the election officers. No voter, after having entered and emerged from the voting machine booth shall be permitted to enter the voting machine booth. No voter shall hold any conversation or communicate with any other person than an election officer while in the voting room, except as otherwise provided in this title.
(e) The rest of this title notwithstanding, any parent, guardian or caregiver may be accompanied in the voting area and voting machine by the parent’s, guardian’s or caregiver’s children or by children for whom they are providing care who are 17 years of age or younger. Any challenge to the age of any child shall be resolved by the voter affirming to the inspector that the child or children being challenged are 17 years of age or younger.
19 Del. Laws, c. 37, § 19; 19 Del. Laws, c. 576; 21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 18; 22 Del. Laws, c. 62; 27 Del. Laws, c. 65, § 16; Code 1915, §§ 1767, 1772; 34 Del. Laws, c. 111, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 1856, 1861; 45 Del. Laws, c. 154, § 12; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 4939; 57 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 58; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 84; 68 Del. Laws, c. 222, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 388, §§ 1, 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 505, § 3; 72 Del. Laws, c. 470, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 404, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 287, § 1.;
§ 4938 Grounds for admitting a person to a voting machine.
The election officers shall only admit to a voting machine a person whose name appears on the poll list, who is authorized to vote by the department of elections or who is authorized to vote by court order.
21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 19; Code 1915, § 1773; 34 Del. Laws, c. 111, § 2; Code 1935, § 1862; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 4944; 50 Del. Laws, c. 172, § 3; 57 Del. Laws, c. 567, § 40; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 85; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, § 11; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 59.;
§ 4939 Determination of challenge based on identity of voter.
If a vote is objected to for the reason that the person offering to vote is not the person whose original permanent registration record appears in the Election District Record, its admission or rejection shall be determined according to the opinion of a majority of the inspector and judges.
§ 4940 Disqualification because of bribery; determination of challenge.
(a) No person who receives or accepts or offers to receive or accept, or pays, transfers or delivers, or offers or promises to pay, transfer or deliver, or contributes or offers or promises to contribute to another to be paid or used, any money or other valuable thing as a compensation, inducement or reward for the registering or abstaining from registering of any one qualified to register or for giving or withholding or in any manner influencing the giving or withholding a vote at any general election in this State, shall vote at such election unless such person being challenged for any of said causes takes and subscribes to the following oath or affirmation, which shall be administered by the inspector:
“I, ________________ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I have not received or accepted, or offered to receive or accept, paid or transferred or delivered, or offered or promised to pay, transfer or deliver, or contributed or offered or promised to contribute to another to be paid or used any money or other valuable thing as compensation, inducement or reward for the registering or abstaining from registering of any one qualified to register, or for the giving or withholding a vote at this election.
Sworn and subscribed to before me this ____ day of November, A. D. ____
(b) Such oath or affirmation shall be conclusive evidence to the election officers of the truth of such oath or affirmation, but if any such oath or affirmation shall be false, the person making the same shall be guilty of perjury, and no conviction thereof shall bar any prosecution under § 8 of Article V of the Constitution of this State. Such oath or affirmation, when signed and attested as provided in this section, shall be competent evidence in any proceeding against the party making the same.
(c) In order to enable the election officers to carry into effect this section, the Department shall cause to be prepared not less than 15 blank forms of the oath or affirmation provided for in this section and shall cause said oaths to be delivered to each inspector in each of the election districts of that inspector’s county at the time provided in § 4509 of this title.
§ 4941 Residency of voter.
If a vote is objected to for the reason that the person is not a bona fide resident of the election district in whose record that person’s name appears, the following rules shall apply:
(1) If any person who has resided within this State actually moves outside this State with the intention of remaining there for an indefinite time as a place of present domicile, such person shall lose that person’s own qualification of residence within the State, notwithstanding any floating intention that person may entertain to return at some future time.
(2) A person registered to vote in the State who has moved from an address or residence located within 1 election district within the State to another address or residence within another elections district within the State shall be permitted to vote at the polling place for that person’s new residence or address.
15 Del. C. 1953, § 4947; 58 Del. Laws, c. 215, § 35; 60 Del. Laws, c. 414, § 12; 61 Del. Laws, c. 480, § 14; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 188, § 26; 77 Del. Laws, c. 227, § 60; 81 Del. Laws, c. 113, § 1.;
§ 4942 Electioneering in polling place; penalties; definitions.
(a) No election officer, challenger or any other person within the polling place or within 50 feet of the entrance to the building in which the voting room is located shall electioneer during the conduct of the election. No political headquarters or gathering shall be permitted within that building during the conduct of the election.
(b) Whoever violates subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not more than $200 or imprisoned not more than 90 days, or both.
(c) Whoever, being an election officer, violates subsection (a) of this section shall be deemed to have knowingly and wilfully violated that election officer’s own official duty.
(d) For the purposes of this section the following definition shall apply:
“Electioneering” includes political discussion of issues, candidates or partisan topics, the wearing of any button, banner or other object referring to issues, candidates or partisan topics, the display, distribution or other handling of literature or any writing or drawing referring to issues, candidates or partisan topics, the deliberate projection of sound referring to issues, candidates or partisan topics from loudspeakers or otherwise into the polling place or the area within 50 feet of the entrance to the building in which the voting room is located.
19 Del. Laws, c. 39, § 31; Code 1915, § 1793; Code 1935, § 1882; 45 Del. Laws, c. 154, § 16; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 4949; 57 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 63; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 88; 58 Del. Laws, c. 215, § 36; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;
§ 4943 Voting assistance based on blindness, disability, or illiteracy; instructions for voters.
(a) Any voter who requires assistance to vote by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter’s choice, other than the voter’s employer or agent of that employer or officer or agent of the voter’s union.
(b) Any election officer may provide instruction or information for a voter through use of 1 of the sample ballots posted in the voting room.
(c) Whenever a voter requests further instructions in the manner of voting or the operation of the voting machine after having entered the voting machine booth, 2 election officers of opposite political parties shall jointly give such instructions. In doing so, the officers shall take care not to assist the voter in any manner that might influence that voter’s vote. After giving instructions, both officers shall retire before the voter begins to register that voter’s vote, which the voter shall do in secret at all times.
20 Del. Laws, c. 396, §§ 1, 10; 27 Del. Laws, c. 65, § 20; Code 1915, § 1739; Code 1935, § 1828; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 4950; 58 Del. Laws, c. 148, § 89; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 304, §§ 4, 5.;
§ 4944 Vote for candidates for President and Vice President as vote for their electors.
A vote for the candidates of a political party for President and Vice President of the United States shall be a vote for all the electors of President and Vice President of such party, the names of whom are on file with the State Election Commissioner and shall be as effective as if the vote was given directly for the electors.
§ 4945 Majority vote of inspector and judges of election.
The concurrence or assent of a majority of the inspector of election and 2 judges of election in any election district is required for the valid exercise by such persons of any power, authority or duty conferred upon or required of them by this title, unless specifically provided otherwise.
19 Del. Laws, c. 39, § 23; Code 1915, § 1790; Code 1935, § 1879; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 4952.;
§ 4946 Powers of election officers to preserve order during election; penalty.
(a) The inspectors of election, from the opening of the election until all the duties and proceedings connected therewith are fully completed, may:
(1) Command the peace; and
(2) Require sureties of the peace from any person disturbing the election, or the officers thereof in the performance of their duties; and
(3) Commit to prison for refusal or neglect to find such surety.
Whoever, being an officer or other person, disobeys the lawful commands of any inspector of election, shall be fined $50.
(b) The election officers in each election district, while discharging any of the duties imposed upon them by this title, may:
(1) Preserve order and enforce obedience to their lawful commands at and around the place of election during the time of any election and counting of votes;
(2) Keep the access to such places open and unobstructed;
(3) Prevent and suppress riots, tumult, violence, disorder and all improper practices tending to the intimidation or obstruction of voters, the disturbance or interruption of the voting or counting of votes; and
(4) Protect the voters and challengers from intimidation and violence, and the registers, poll books, boxes, envelopes and ballots from violence and fraud; and
(5) Deputize, if necessary, 1 or more electors to communicate their orders and directions and to assist in the enforcement thereof.
§ 4947 Time and manner of closing election.
The election shall be continued open until 8:00 p.m. when it shall be closed. In closing the election the inspector and the judges shall, nevertheless, permit those electors to vote who have presented themselves and have offered to vote prior to 8:00 p.m., provided that at 8:00 p.m. they shall be in a line awaiting their turn to vote within the voting room itself or if the line extends outside of the voting room itself within that line; any person who has not voted or who has not presented himself or herself and offered to vote and is not waiting in line by 8:00 p.m. shall not be permitted to vote after the hour of 8:00 p.m. The inspector shall one-half hour before closing the election make proclamation that the election will be closed in that time.
21 Del. Laws, c. 38, § 20; Code 1915, § 1774; 32 Del. Laws, c. 100, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 1768, 1863; 15 Del. C. 1953, § 4954; 50 Del. Laws, c. 22, § 1; 50 Del. Laws, c. 172, § 5; 57 Del. Laws, c. 181, § 64; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;
§ 4948 Provisional ballots.
(a) Provisional ballots shall be used in primary and general elections conducted under the provisions of this title. Provisional ballots shall not be used in public school elections or municipal elections unless specifically authorized in Title 14, Title 15 and/or the respective town or city charter.
(b) A person claiming to be properly registered in an election district, but whose eligibility to vote at that election district cannot be determined, shall be entitled to vote a provisional ballot. Election officers shall inform a person who is not being permitted to vote for whatever reason that the person may cast a provisional ballot in that election. The inspector shall return all voted provisional ballots to the Department on the night of the election.
(c) Persons voting a provisional ballot shall present proof of identity and address to the election officers. The type of ID shown by the voter shall be annotated on the provisional ballot envelope. If the person does not show proof of identity or address, the person shall be permitted to vote by provisional ballot and the fact that the person did not show proof of identity and/or address shall be annotated on the provisional ballot envelope.
(d) If the Superior Court or another court of competent jurisdiction orders that some or all polling places in a county of the state be kept open beyond the normal time for closing, all persons who arrive to vote at the polling place or places ordered to be kept open after the normal time for closing shall vote by provisional ballot. The election officers shall keep such ballots separate and return them to the Department on the night of the election.
(e) Provisional ballots shall be as much as possible in the same form as absentee ballots except that only federal offices shall be listed and they shall be labeled as provisional ballots. For general and special elections, the departments shall provide a minimum of 10 blank provisional ballots to each election district, a minimum of 20 blank provisional ballots to election districts with 3 or more assigned voting machines, and a minimum of 30 blank provisional ballots to election district with 4 or more assigned voting machines. For a primary election, each department shall develop a standard appropriate for the respective primary. The Department shall deliver additional provisional ballots, envelopes, instructions or voter information sheets to the polling place for an election district when notified by an election officer from the district that the supply of some or all of the provisional ballot materials is very low.
(f) Election officers shall give whatever assistance is requested by a voter who is voting by provisional ballot. When that assistance includes marking or assisting in marking the person’s ballot, 2 election officers with different political party affiliations shall provide that assistance.
(g) A voter who spoils that voter’s own ballot shall, upon request, be given a replacement ballot after surrendering the spoiled ballot.
(h) Tallying provisional ballots.
(1) The day following an election in which provisional ballots were used, the Department shall meet to examine the provisional ballots, determine which of the ballots should be tallied in accordance with the rules stated below, and then tally those ballots.
(2) The Attorney General shall appoint a Deputy Attorney General to advise the Department as requested during the provisional ballot tallying process.
(3) The county chairperson of each political party with a candidate on a provisional ballot within the county may appoint in writing 1 observer to be in the room where provisional ballots are being reviewed and tallied.
(4) The Department shall sit until the disposition of every provisional ballot has been determined. The Department shall establish an appropriate schedule of breaks, meals and rest periods.
(5) Where the provisional ballot affidavit is incomplete, the ballot shall be set aside, not opened and the votes not tallied. An incomplete affidavit shall be defined as one that does not include all of the following information: full name, complete address, political party affiliation (primary elections only), and date of birth.
(6) Where the person who voted by provisional ballot did not show suitable identification at the polling place, the ballot shall be set aside, not opened and the votes not tallied.
(7) Provisional ballots cast by persons who are not registered to vote in the state or who are not registered to vote in the election district in which they were cast shall be set aside, not opened and the votes not tallied.
(8) A provisional ballot cast by a person who is registered to vote and who has moved into the election district shall be counted if the person voted at the correct polling place for that person’s new address.
(9) The Department shall tally the provisional ballots that meet the above criteria. After all of the provisional ballots determined as meeting the above criteria have been tallied, the Department shall deliver 1 copy of the provisional ballot tally sheet for each Election District, all the provisional ballots cast in the election, and all affidavits, envelopes and supporting documentation to the Prothonotary.
(i) Post election processing and notification.
(1) As soon as practical, but not later than 30 days following an election in which provisional ballots were used, the Department shall enter the appropriate data into a free access system so that a person who voted by provisional ballot may determine whether or not that person’s ballot was counted, and if it was not counted, the reason or reasons for which it was not counted.
(2) The Department shall use the provisional ballot affidavit as authority to register a person to vote who voted by provisional ballot in an election and who is not already registered to vote providing that the minimum information required to register a person to vote is provided. The provisional ballot envelope shall be used to transfer a registered voter’s address and/or update the registered voter’s name when the address and/or name is different than the information on the person’s voter registration record.