The House of Representatives passed an elections reform bill Thursday that will consolidate the state’s three county election boards into one state panel. Republican legislators grilled the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Earl Jaques, D-Glasgow, and state elections commissioner Elaine Manlove on the details of House Bill 302. The bill was crafted to mirror the Election Law Task Force’s review of election protocol. It creates an 11-member state elections board and eliminates election boards in Kent, Sussex and New Castle counties. County elections offices would still be in place, but under the new proposal, directors would report to the state board to ensure all offices were communicating.
Rep. Jaques said the current board situation is too convoluted and information is not accessible for the public online. “Unfortunately, today what the public sees is a very confusing mess,” he said. “Each county website is different and does not contain the same information.”
The proposed bipartisan board would include two representatives from New Castle County, two from Kent, two from Sussex, two from the city of Wilmington, two at-large members and the state elections commissioner.
Five Democrats and five Republicans would have to be appointed. All representatives would be appointed by the governor and serve four-year terms.