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Politics & Government

Statewide voting group throws support behind no excuse mail-in voting

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The Delaware Voting Rights Coalition launches, voicing support for a change of the state’s absentee voting law.

The group is Delaware’s first statewide voting rights coalition that is a combination of organizations and advocates. It aims to empower communities of color, people who speak English as a second language, people involved in the justice system and young people to identify and remedy barriers to the ballot box.

"We're encouraging voters and policymakers to consider reform that will improve access to voting,” said Dwayne Bensing of the ACLU of Delaware. “We've been diligently working for the last several months and we're ready to work with legislators, local election officials, and the Department of Elections to make sure that these reforms become a reality."

The group’s first goal is to get HB 75 passed, which is the state constitutional amendment eliminating limitations to mail-in voting and providing the General Assembly power to regulate the rules and procedures for absentee voting.

The bill’s sponsor is Representative David Bentz (D-Bear), who says the current mail-in voting system is too restrictive.

"It actually limits people’s access to their right in a lot of ways by really condensing the circumstances in which they can vote,” he said. “What we want to do is obviously take that out and make sure that we have as few restrictions as possible to people's right to vote so that they can do it in a way that's convenient for them in a way that we've seen for years and years is safe and secure that can be done in a way that ensures integrity in our elections."

Maren Bertelsen lives in Middletown after living and voting by mail in other states, and she supports the change.

"I just prefer to vote by mail now,” she said. “It allows me to take my time. I don't have to worry that something unexpected could happen on Election Day and prevent me from voting."

The second leg of the amendment has been voted out of committee.

 

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