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ACLU of DE looks to spread awareness of restored voting laws, reform efforts ongoing

Delaware Public Media

The Delaware Supreme Court reinstated permanent absentee and early voting two weeks ago due to a legal technicality, but the court failed to actually address the constitutionality of the voting procedures.

ACLU of Delaware’s Cozen Voting Rights Fellow Andrew Bernstein says although the organization is disappointed the court did not address if the voting laws are actually constitutional, they are excited the options will be available this election.

“We’re going to be making sure voters know about these in various ways. First and foremost, we have our Vote Delaware website that large numbers of voters go to before voting at elections, and we’re going to make sure it’s clear there that voters have these options," he said.

Bernstein says the ACLU will also work with various partners ahead of election season, particularly the Delaware Voting Rights Coalition, to spread awareness.

Before the state’s legislative session ended, Democratic lawmakers brought an amendment to the floor that would have constitutionalized no-excuse and permanent absentee voting, as well as early voting.

That amendment failed, but ACLU of Delaware’s Cozen Voting Rights Fellow Andrew Bernstein says the organization plans to continue pushing for those voting laws to be enshrined in the constitution.

“We’re really looking at a whole host of reforms that might take elements of previous reforms that were brought last session and failed, and also things that were brought and challenged in court successfully in earlier legislative sessions.”

Bernstein says the ACLU is also hoping to revive an amendment introduced last year that would outlaw felony disenfranchisement.

You can apply for a permanent absentee ballot if you are temporarily residing outside the U.S., serving in the military or physically disabled, but residents who are simply vacationing or temporarily ill can apply for a one-time absentee ballot.

The Delaware Department of Elections has also posted dates, times and locations for early voting, which starts August 28 for the statewide primary election on September 10, 2024.

Before residing in Dover, Delaware, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending eight years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 years in Carbondale, Illinois and four years in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.
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