Presidential primary, school board elections pushed back again over coronavirus
The presidential primary election in Delaware is moving again due to COVID-19. It is now scheduled for July 7, after initially moving from April 28th to June 2nd.
School board elections are also shifting again. They are now July 21.
The deadline to register for the presidential primary is also being pushed back from this Saturday to June 13.
The Department of Elections will mail absentee ballot applications to all registered Democrats and Republicans. Applying online is also an option.
Under Gov. John Carney's State of Emergency order, voters can select the “sick” or “physically disabled” options on their applications over concerns about COVID-19, even if they are not displaying symptoms of the virus.
Carney said in a statement Thursday the changes allow Delawareans to safely exercise their “fundamental” right to vote.
Election Commissioner Anthony Albence says his department plans to send out over 500,000 absentee voter applications in the next week or two. He adds voters can also apply online.
“Through our ivote [website]," he said. "We’re starting to see a bit of an increase, but not huge as of yet.”
Those that select the “sick” or “disabled” reasons for voting absentee can choose to mark and return their ballots through a cloud-based voting system the state is piloting for the first time this presidential primary. They can also choose to mark their ballots through the digital system, then mail, fax or email the ballot to election officials.
Cybersecurity experts have criticized the system as insecure and not thoroughly vetted.
Albence says his department is in the process of obtaining supplies and equipment, such as higher-speed ballot processing equipment, additional scanners and ballot paper, to deal with the expected surge in absentee votes.
“We’re preparing as best we can, and we are moving very quickly to obtain everything that we can, but we’re confident that we’re going to have it," he said.
The Department of Elections plans to provide at least six polling places in each county to allow for in-person voting. Districts and municipalities are required to enforce social distancing during elections— including face coverings and limits of 10 people on crowds at polling places.
This story has been updated.