Delaware Republican & Democratic Caucuses React to the Court finding DE Early Voting & Permanent Absentee Voting Statutes Unconstitutional


Reaction to Friday’s opinion that strikes down the Delaware statutes on early voting and permanent absentee voting has come from both sides of the State House and Senate floors. The Republican Caucus takes no issue with early voting, but the statute that was passed in the General Assembly violates the State Constitution. They plan to introduce a constitutional amendment that would implement early voting for the General Election that addresses the court’s objections. The Democratic Caucus is disappointed in the Superior Court decision and will impact the ability of those who’s schedules don’t align with Election Day to be heard. They also look to amend the State Constitution for voting and the importance of continuing to advocate for voter protections at the federal level. You’ll find the full statement from each caucus below.

A Statement from House and Senate Republican Leaders Concerning the Recent Superior Court Ruling on Early Voting

Last Friday, the Delaware Superior Court handed down a decision finding Delaware’s early voting law to be in violation of the state constitution.

Many House and Senate Republicans raised the unconstitutional nature of the legislation, House Bill 38, when it was debated in 2019.  Unfortunately, our objections fell on deaf ears.

To be clear, we take no issue with in-person early voting. It is a convenience that many Delawareans have embraced and has been accepted by voters nationwide. In 2022, about 28% of all Delaware voters cast their ballot prior to Election Day. Until Friday’s ruling, Delaware was one of 46 states that offered early in-person voting.

Our main objection to the statute was that it violated the state constitution.  We applaud the court for validating the arguments we made five years ago.

During the upcoming House of Representatives’ prefile on Thursday, we will be introducing a constitutional amendment to correctly implement the form of early voting that Delawareans used in the last election cycle, taking care to address the court’s objections.

State Senate Minority Leader Gerald Hocker (R-Ocean View), who was a party of the lawsuit that successfully overturned the flawed and unconstitutional early voting law, will be a prime sponsor of the new measure.  Joining him will be the other members of the House and Senate Republican leadership.

We hope all legislators on both sides of the aisle will join us in support of this measure and enacting early voting that is legally sound and compliant with our state constitution.

State Sen. Gerald Hocker
State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn
State Rep. Mike Ramone
State Rep. Lyndon Yearick

House Democratic Caucus Leadership Statement on Delaware Superior Court Ruling on Voting  

DOVER-In response to the Delaware Superior Court decision regarding early voting and permanent absentee voting, House Speaker Valerie Longhurst, House Majority Leader Melissa Minor Brown, and House Majority Whip Kerri Evelyn Harris issued the following joint statement:

“The decision from the Delaware Superior Court is profoundly disappointing for us and all advocates of voting rights.

“Restricting early and permanent absentee voting will directly impact the ability of parents, low-income workers, shift workers, those with disabilities, and the elderly, to have their voices heard as personal schedules and needs don’t always align with the state’s predetermined voting day. For this reason, these two methods of voting have proved to be incredibly popular and effective, improving access and opportunities for all voters to exercise their constitutionally protected right. 

“At a time when voting rights across the nation are under attack, Delaware Democrats have steadfastly supported measures that would ultimately make it easier and more convenient for residents to vote and we will continue to push for these critical changes to our electoral laws. This decision reinforces the urgency of our past efforts to amend Delaware’s Constitution for voting and underscores the importance of continuing to advocate for voter protections at the federal level.”