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Dept. of Elections expects an absentee voting surge due to COVID-19

Delaware Public Media
Delaware’s Department of Elections (DOE) expects to see a significant bump in absentee ballots for the state’s delayed Presidential primary and school board elections.";s:

Delaware’s Presidential primary election is being delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. And Delaware’s Department of Elections is preparing for a surge in absentee ballots because the state is making it easier to vote that way.



The Presidential primary is moving from April 28, 2020 to June 2, 2020 - and school board elections scheduled for May 12, 2020 are now pushed to June 16, 2020.  And in both cases any Delawarean can choose to vote absentee.


“The modification to the State of Emergency (issued by Gov John Carney) did include the provisions for individuals who are working through challenges with regards to coronavirus; even individuals are not symptomatic but who are practicing self-quarantining and social distancing - kind of those best practices,” said State Election’s Commissioner Anthony Albence.


He notes that they anticipate that many will take advantage of the absentee option.


“I know there’s concerns for a lot of individuals about the current environment with the pandemic happening,” said Albence.


Absentee ballots are available now.


“They are available if you visit our website - you can go to the main website - - that has links to the County offices. And there are the applications - links are available you can download a form - a fillable form is also an option - to complete an application for the primary election right in our voter portal at”



Albence notes typically only about five percent of people vote absentee. He says he’s confident the state can set up the infrastructure to count an increased number of absentee ballots in a timely fashion.


He adds that he is hopeful the pandemic will have subsided by the time these elections are held, and poll workers feel comfortable showing up. But he says the Department of Elections continues to recruit poll workers.



Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.