Letter to General Assembly

HB75

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Delaware General Assembly

411 Legislative Avenue

Dover, DE 19901

Last year the Delaware General Assembly proposed and passed a bill that would amend Article V Section 4A of the State’s Constitution by removing the current language which outlines who may vote absentee. By Delaware law, any alteration to the State’s Constitution must be passed in two successive sessions of the General Assembly.  To fulfill this requirement, this year, the second leg of this process in the form of House Bill 75 has been filed with the legislature.

The members of the Advisory Board of the Sussex County GOP are opposed to amending Article V Section 4A of the Delaware Constitution for the following reasons.

  • The language in House Bill 75 is so very general that if passed, it would be impossible to know exactly what, if any, limitations there would be on absentee voting. In fact, the term “absentee voting” as we know it today, should actually be replaced with “mail-in voting” as all eligible voters would be able to cast a mail-in vote.  Additionally, the general language suggests that the General Assembly may change the circumstances, rules, and procedures for voting at any time, for any reason.
  • This past year we had a “dress rehearsal” of sorts for mail-in voting that did not go well. Requests for mail-in ballots supposedly were sent to all eligible voters.  In actuality, some eligible voters never received the requests.  Others received multiple ballot requests at their addresses – many for people who no longer lived at that address.  Additionally, some voters received these unsolicited requests for ballots and went to the polls to cast their votes.  However, the records show that they voted absentee.  Certainly, these irregularities lead one to question the integrity of the process.
  • The typical procedure for absentee ballots is that the signatures on the outside envelopes are checked against signatures that the state has on file in the form of State-issued ID’s or drivers licenses when the ballot reaches the offices of the Board of Elections. During this past year’s elections, by their own admission, the Board of Election’s offices were so overwhelmed with the volume that at a certain point, the process of matching signatures was suspended and ballots were just processed.   This situation in the presence of mass-mailing requests leaves us to question just how secure the mail-in voting process would be.
  • The usual reason for an absentee ballot to be rejected is signature verification. According to Ballotpedia in 2016 and 2018, the percentage of rejected absentee ballots were 1.54% and 4.99% respectively.  In 2020, the percentage of rejected absentee ballots plummeted to 0.21%.  It belies logic that for the 2020 election, absentee voters suddenly became cognizant of the correct way to complete and submit their ballots.
  • The voter rolls are not accurate. We are aware of a number of people who are either deceased or have moved out of the area who continue to show up on the voter rolls.  Thus, if the new process would include mass-mailing of ballots or requests for ballots, there will be multiple opportunities for inappropriate behavior and fraud.

Finally, as representatives of the voters in Sussex County, we believe that the most important privilege and responsibility a citizen has is exercising his/her right to vote.  Certainly, for those who are unable to go to the polling place as currently outlined in Article V Section 4A, absentee voting is essential.  For the rest of eligible voters, we would believe that going to the polls and exercising this sacred privilege is not too burdensome.

We respectfully request that each of you takes these concerns into serious consideration.  No matter what your personal belief about the integrity of the 2020 election, it is imperative that you understand that some of your constituents have reservations.  It is incumbent upon this body restore confidence in the process.  A good start would be to address these points to mitigate any doubts.

 

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