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No-excuse absentee voting bill returns

Delaware Public Media

After being narrowly defeated last year, state lawmakers are pushing to open regulations surrounding voting by absentee once again.

The constitutional amendment needed one Republican vote in the House, but failed to garner any. GOP lawmakers say they were concerned loosening current restrictions would lead to voter fraud.

Rep. Earl Jaques (D-Glasgow), the chief sponsor of the bill, maintains that Delaware doesn’t have a voting fraud problem. 

“That’s just an excuse not to do it to me," said Jaques. "That’s just my personal belief, but I don’t think we have rampant fraud or anything and I think it’s time to do it.”

Two people were referred to the attorney general’s office last month after allegations of voter fraud in the Red Clay School District.

Currently, only those with a legal excuse can do so, including active duty military, those with a disability, or someone caring for a sick family member.

Jaques says the same flexibility should be afforded to everyone in society.

“We have a lot of single parents anymore that have to take their children to school, they have to go to soccer practice, they have to do all of those things. They want to participate, but they’re limited in the way they can do it.”

Republicans gained two seats in the last election, leaving Democrats a three-vote margin to overcome should all 25 members approve of it. A constitutional amendment needs a two-thirds majority from both chambers in consecutive General Assemblies to be enacted.