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ACLU of Delaware files request to overturn Red Clay tax referendum results

Delaware Public Media

The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware filed a complaint in Chancery Court Friday asking to overturn the results of the February 24th Red Clay school district tax referendum.

The proposal was approved by a vote of 6,395 to 5,515 - a margin of nearly 900 votes.“The ACLU filed this complaint because, above all else, every voter must be given fair and equal access to the ballot box. That is a fundamental value of our democracy. This complaint has nothing to do with the results of the referendum. It has everything to do with process. Government, including school districts, cannot use their power to rig elections in violation of state and federal law,” said ACLU executive director Kathleen MacRae in a statement.

The ACLU alleges the district abused its power to influence the vote by not acting neutrally.  It claims Red Clay skewed the turnout and results in favor of the tax increase by scheduling family fun nights, using empty school buses to block handicap parking spaces, and giving free pizza to students once their parents had voted, among other actions.

The ACLU argues those actions knowingly improved access for supporters of the tax increase, while the district deliberately impeded the participation of the elderly, a population believed to generally oppose the tax hike, by not providing adequate parking at the polls.

They added that the lack of parking created the impression of long lines and crowds.

The complaint also cites the New Castle County Board of Elections, which certified the results despite public complaints and a request to Attorney General's office to investigate.

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