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Delaware Supreme Court: No-Excuse Mail-In Voting, Same-Day Registration Are Unconstitutional


In another huge win for election integrity this week, the Delaware Supreme Court has ruled that mail-in voting and same-day voter registration violates the state’s constitution.

In July 2022, Delaware’s General Assembly passed a law establishing no-excuse mail-in voting and same-day voter registration. The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a lawsuit against the law on behalf of Michael Mennella, an elections inspector for the Delaware Department of Elections, arguing such a law was unconstitutional (Delaware state law outlines only specific instances a person may vote by mail).

Such a law was modeled after another 2020 mail-in voting law the General Assembly passed under their emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling Delaware to have mail-in voting during the 2020 election. The law was challenged, but upheld due to an emergency powers clause. The law expired in January 2021.

Friday’s decision reverses a Chancery Court’s order, which in September ruled that Delaware’s new vote-by mail law is unconstitutional, but upheld the same-day voter registration law. The Delaware Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s same-day voter registration ruling, and affirmed the mail-in voting part.

“This is a win for the rule of law in Delaware’s Elections,” PILF President J. Christian Adams said in a press release. “This law violated the plain text of the Delaware Constitution that provides specific reasons people are allowed to cast absentee ballots and when voter registration can take place. If Delaware lawmakers want to have mail-in voting, they need to pass a constitutional amendment.”

The Delaware Constitution prohibits voter registration less than 10 days before an election, the 2022 law allowing same-day voter registration violated this provision.

While the ruling is a huge win for election integrity in Delaware, the fight to outlaw no-excuse mail-in voting continues across the country. In Pennsylvania, for example, a lower court ruled its no-excuse absentee ballot law was unconstitutional. PA’s Democratic-majority Supreme Court, however, overturned the lower court’s ruling and upheld no-excuse mail in voting just in time for the 2022 midterms. Other key battleground states such Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Florida all allow no-excuse absentee ballots.

PILF spokeswoman Lauren Bowman Bis told The Federalist that “we will continue to bring lawsuits against any states that violate their election laws and procedures.”

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