Delaware Public Media

Democratic state lawmakers push to expand voting, registration limits

Jan 21, 2019

Democratic state lawmakers are trying to revamp the First State’s voting system.


Delaware House members have introduced three pieces of legislation they say are designed to increase voter access and turnout.

State Rep. Stephanie Bolden is sponsoring a bill that moves state primary elections from September to April, when the state’s presidential primaries are held.

State Rep. John Viola’s legislation would allow same-day voter registration, while State Rep. David Bentz is sponsoring a bill establishing early voting.

Gov. John Carney said access to the voting booth is fundamental - a point he reiterated in last week’s State of the State speech.

“Right now, Delaware lags behind in making it easy and convenient for people to exercise their right to vote," hew said. "We’re going to change that.”

Viola’s same-day voter registration bill last year passed the House, but stalled in the Senate.

Bentz also sponsored a early voting bill last year. But because it changes the city of Wilmington’s charter, it must pass with a supermajority and is being reintroduced this year.

“The way we had it drafted last year had some challenges with it," he said. "It just wasn’t as cleanly written of a bill as we would have wanted.”

Bentz’s legislation would establish early voting up to 10 days before any primary, general or special election.

House Minority Leader Danny Short calls the pieces of voting legislation divisive.