The Department of Elections needs more space for future elections. That’s the takeaway of the Department’s budget hearing Thursday.
Election Commissioner Anthony Albence told the Office of Management and Budget that the recent election was a success. It involved new voting machines, an activation of the Delaware National Guard to help with cybersecurity, and an unprecedented level of mail-in and absentee voting.
But Albence says the county elections offices are running out of space.
“With all the new equipment that we obtained for vote-by-mail, which was a lot of automation equipment that we had to have, we are maxed out,” he said.
Albence says the need is most acute at the Kent and Sussex County offices.
“With the people trying to vote absentee at our office, we had lines down the street and we didn’t have enough room to social distance, so we could only could bring in a few at a time,” said Kenneth McDowell, director of the Sussex County elections office. “So our office up front needs more space.”
McDowell also says the Sussex County elections warehouse is full, making it hard to move equipment in and out.
Vote-by-mail could become a permanent option in Delaware, as several members of the General Assembly and Gov. John Carney have expressed support for the idea.
Early voting starts in Delaware in 2022.
Albence says it would make sense for some of the early voting locations to be at county elections offices—but that that would require more space.