Del. Early Voting, Permanent Absentee Laws Challenged In Court


A lawsuit was filed Thursday on behalf of a Delaware election inspector who alleges that the state’s laws on early voting and permanent absentee voting violate requirements in the state constitution.

Michael Mennella, according to the complaint filed in Court of Chancery, felt in conflict because he would be required to choose between following the law and violating his oath.

M. Jane Brady, Brady Legal Group LLC, is counsel for Manella. Jane Brady is also chair of the Delaware Republican Party. The Public Interest Legal Foundation is also supporting the case.

To read the complaint, please CLICK HERE

“The Public Interest Legal Foundation is a foundation that litigates exclusively on voting issues and they researched it, worked with me and came to the conclusion that I had – that those two provisions violated terms of the state constitution,” Brady told WGMD News.

“The Constitution provides you must vote in person on election day unless you qualify under very limited conditions to vote absentee. Early voting clearly violates that requirement.  In addition, all the provisions related to absentee voting are transitional and temporary. The Department of Elections treats permanent absentee status as an indefinite status and does not require certification or renewed application each election. We believe that also violates Delaware’s Constitution”, Noel Johnson of the Public Interest Legal Foundation’s Noel Johnson said.

Brady clarified that the provisions of the state constitution do not affect special elections or primary elections – only the general election.
“Following a review of Delaware’s Constitution and the statutes, we came to the conclusion that the statutes clearly violate the purpose, intent and language of the Delaware Constitution. Our mission as an organization is to ensure that election contests are conducted lawfully and that citizens of every jurisdiction have secure and fair elections,” Johnson added.

In a statement Thursday, the Delaware State Republican Party spoke in support of Mennella’s lawsuit.

“The election laws in our Constitution have protected the integrity of Delaware elections for decades.  We must ensure that our statutes conform to those protections”, Delaware State Republican Party National Committeeman Henry (Hank) McCann said.    “If the legislature wants to change our election laws, they must properly enact an Amendment to the Constitution. The current, proposed Amendment is flawed, as it gives the majority party the power to simply take away those Constitutional provisions that have protected the integrity of our elections.”