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Elections Commissioner reflects on a very successful election in Delaware

Roman Battaglia
Delaware Public Media

The Election in Delaware went off without a hitch, despite an ongoing pandemic.


Voter turnout broke records in Delaware this year. More people cast ballots than in any previous election in the First State.


Turnout was just under 69 percent with nearly 508,000 people voting.


Elections Commissioner Anthony Albence says the option to vote by mail was a significant factor in boosting turnout.


“Voters had more choices this time around," said Albence. "In addition to the options we had available so certainly with more choices it certainly could have contributed to that sure.”


Other states with vote by mail systems like Utah see voter turnout up to 80 percent. People often say it just adds another convenient way for people to vote, especially those with busy schedules.


Delaware also adds the option to vote early in the 2022 midterm election under a bill passed back in 2019.


While some states continue to count vote-by-mail ballots, Delaware got all of its results by the end of the night. 


Albence chalks it up to good planning by the lawmakers when writing the vote by mail legislation.


“With the provisions we had available just like in the primary we had that 30 day window to prepare the ballots and get them ready to get them scanned; we didn’t tabulate anything until close of polls but that certainly contributed to that, that was very helpful," said Albence. "We had results out certainly much quicker than you’re seeing in other states.”


Some states like Pennsylvania couldn't begin to process ballots until after polls closed, leading to the long delays.


He says the state now has the sorting machines needed to count vote-by-mail ballots quickly and efficiently, if it continues in future elections.


Albence also notes he saw no major issues arising from using mail-in ballots. And Democrats and Republicans in the state expect it to become a permanent part of Delaware elections in the future.


Albence adds he is proud of the elections team this year. In addition to dealing with the pandemic and mail-in voting, they also rolled out the state’s new voting machines successfully.

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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