Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly raised the specter of a “rigged election,” and it appears he is not alone. A recent poll by the University of Delaware found that residents are concerned about the integrity of the voting process: 66 percent of the 900 respondents said they were either somewhat or very concerned about voter fraud; 61 percent are worried about the election “being rigged,” and 75 percent are worried about hackers breaking into the computers of state election systems. “If Americans don’t trust our electoral process, where are we?” said State Elections Commissioner Elaine Manlove. “I don’t like to see people in positions of authority saying these things that undermine what we’re trying to do.” She and other state election officials maintain there are numerous safeguards are in place.
Articles about voting issues in Delaware.
Whether large or small, contentious or quiet, Delaware taxpayers are on the hook for millions each time votes need to be cast across the state. Among other points on the balance sheet, election employees have to be paid, machines need to be shipped and polling stations booked, all at a cost that falls around the $3 million mark for statewide elections. Election officials say running the whole show from the state level helps streamline the process, but it’s never easy or cheap. This year had a presidential primary in April, a statewide primary on Sept. 13 and the general election in November, plus other local contests.
A few Wilmington residents will head to the polls for the first time to vote thanks to a new state law restoring voting rights to ex-offenders. Though the new law made headlines in July when it was signed by Gov. Jack Markell, a local man is on a mission to make sure people are aware of it. His name is Vash Turner, and so far he has registered at least 400 ex-offenders since last month. “Sometimes they get out, they lose fight because they feel as though they’re not a part of society anymore,” Turner said. Throughout the years, state leaders have taken several steps to help ex-offenders feel like they are a part of society. Years ago, ex-offenders were allowed to vote after a five year waiting period and settling court fees.
Convicted felons in Delaware have one fewer hurdle to jump before having their voting rights restored. State lawmakers last month approved a bill that allows felons to vote before they have paid all fines, fees and restitution. Gov. Jack Markell who included the proposal in his State of the State address in January, planned to sign the legislation Wednesday at the Achievement Center in Wilmington.
The U.S. Supreme Court will let stand a lower court ruling upholding Delaware’s election law that requires advocacy groups to disclose the donors behind their political advertisements. The justices refused to hear a challenge to the law Tuesday. Delaware’s Elections Disclosure Act was cheered as the first major overhaul of the state’s campaign finance laws in more than 20 years when it passed in 2012 and was enacted in 2013. The law requires third-party groups and individuals to disclose their donors to the state elections commissioner if they publish advertisements or other communications, including internet postings, that refer to a candidate in the 60 days before an election. Previously, only groups that directly advocated for or against a candidate were required to disclose their donors.
A bill has passed the Senate that restores the voting rights of people with felony convictions who’ve completed their prison sentences but have not yet fully paid fines and fees. Senate Bill 242 passed 16-4 down party lines May 10. The bill does not call for the fees and fines to be forgiven. “This legislation affirms the state’s commitment to provide a second chance to those who’ve served their time in prison after breaking our laws,” said Claire Snyder-Hall, program director for Common Cause Delaware, in prepared statement. “We can’t reasonably expect them to become productive citizens unless we’re willing to extend to them all the rights that go with citizenship, including the right to vote.
The state Senate approved Tuesday a bill that would allow felons to vote before they have paid all their fines and fees. The bill, which still must pass the House, is part of a larger package of legislation aimed at helping ex-offenders re-integrate into society after they get out of prison. There are some crimes for which a conviction means the revocation of voting rights, like murder, manslaughter, rape or abuse of office. For other crimes, voting rights can be restored once the person gets out of prison, but only after they’ve paid all the fines and fees the courts levied against them.
Delaware: Court Decides Delaware Donors Must Be Made Public When Campaign Groups Spend Over $500 | International Business Times
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a Delaware law compelling groups that spend more than $500 to reveal donors who contributed $100 or more. Delaware Safe Families (DSF), a nonprofit that distributed an “informational” voter guide in the 2014 election, was previously awarded an injunction to avoid complying with the act by a federal judge. “It is the conduct of an organization, rather than an organization’s status with the Internal Revenue Service, that determines whether it makes communications subject to” the Delaware Elections Disclosure Act, Judge Joseph Greenaway Jr. wrote in the unanimous decision.
A federal appeals court said Delaware may enforce a state election law requiring advocacy groups that run political advertising to reveal their donors. Thursday’s 3-0 decision by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia reversed a lower court ruling that had favored Delaware Strong Families, a conservative-leaning group that publishes “voter guides” ahead of elections. The group objected to a 2013 state law requiring third-party advertisers to reveal their donors’ identities if they spend more than $500 in an election cycle on ads that refer to specific candidates, even if they do not recommend how to vote.
A bill to allow prospective voters to register and cast their ballots on the same day as an election is pending a vote in the Delaware Senate. Introduced June 3, Senate Bill 111 was reported out of the Administrative Services/Elections Committee on June 11, and now is awaiting consideration by the full Senate. A similar bill was barely approved in the House during the last General Assembly session, but died before being considered by the upper chamber.