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State receives more than 100,000 mail-in or absentee requests so far

Sophia Schmidt
Delaware Public Media

The state primary election is just days away. Tens of thousands are returning their ballots under the no-excuse vote-by-mail option. 

Delaware’s presidential primary in July saw an unprecedented level of absentee voting. Just over 56,000 Delawareans cast their ballots that way. 

So far over 100,000 have requested vote-by-mail or absentee ballots for the state primary Sept. 15. Roughly 63,000 voters had returned them as of Wednesday morning, according to the state Department of Elections. 

Reports of equipment removal at postal centers this summer caused fears that some mail-in ballots might not reach election officials in time. State Election Commissioner Anthony Albence says he’s not concerned about that. 

“At this point, we’re not aware of any delays in the mail,” Albence said Wednesday. “It seems to be the mail timeframe is pretty much the normal timeframe we are used to.”

The Postal Service recommendsvoters mail their ballots back at least a week before election day. 


In Delaware, elections officials must have a ballot "in hand" by the close of polls in order to count it.

Albence said Wednesday voters can still mail ballots back, but if they haven’t done so by this weekend or early next week, they should deliver them directly to ballot drop boxes. 

“Just to be safe,” Albence said. “In those cases, using the drop box would be advisable.”

The state’sfive ballot drop boxeswill be open through close of polls Tuesday. They’re located in the county elections offices in Kent and Sussex Counties, at the New Castle County Office Warehouse & Training Center and in the Carvel State building in Wilmington. 

Polling places will also be open for in-person voting. 

Voters can track whether or not election officials have processed their ballots by logging into the online iVote portal. A voter who requested a mail-in ballot can still vote in person by asking an election official to void their mail-in ballot, as long as it has not already been received.


Elections officials are able to process (but not officially tabulate) mail-in and absentee ballots received before election day. Albence says the Department of Elections hopes to be caught up processing these ballots by election day, but that as of Wednesday, not all of the roughly 63,000 ballots received had been processed. Albence says the county elections offices are "pretty much on track" to get that finished by election day.


Albence says his department also expects to get election results out in a timely manner.


"The one item that is an unknown is certainly if we get a lot of ballots at the last minute, in terms of mail on the last day or large amounts dropped off, we'll process them as quickly as we can," he said. "But certainly the vast majority of results we expect to have out on election night."





Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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