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Rehoboth Beach sees record number of absentee voters in upcoming election

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The Rehoboth Beach Municipal Election is this Saturday.


And There’s a record number of absentee voters.


Voters in Rehoboth Beach will cast their votes for mayor and two spots on the Board of Commissioners in Saturday's election.


Like previous elections this year, the city is seeing a surge in absentee ballots.  It reports double the number of absentee ballots already returned compared to the previous high in 2017.


Rehoboth Beach Board of Elections Chairman Steve Simmons proposed measures to ensure the ballots are counted in a timely fashion.


“This is roughly three times what we’ve had, the most we’ve had was three years or so ago and it was 429. So again that’s why I’m proposing we’ll continue this thing right through with just rotating people out rather than just take a break.”


The Board of Elections also pushed back the start time for counting ballots. Election officials will begin that process two hours earlier.


The city has 1,700 registered voters and this will mark the first election that more people vote absentee rather than in person. 


Board of Elections chair Steve Simmons reminds voters that absentee ballots can be turned in right up until the polls close at 6pm.


“They have until exactly 6 o’clock when we announce the polls are closed. So somebody can walk in with an absentee ballot at five of and we still have to have it. We will have to be making our count right at 6 o’clock when the doors close. And if we’re done early we just have to be there at 6 o’clock to do that last count.”


Incumbent Paul Kuhns faces off against former commissioner Stan Mills in the mayor’s race. 


And voters also decide who fills two open commissioner seats.  Four fresh faces compete for two commissioner spots that Lisa Schlosser and Steven Scheffer are leaving this year.


The polls open at 10am Saturday and close at 6pm. 


In person voting is at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center with precautions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as mandatory masks.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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