Same-Day Voter Registration Bill Approved By Del. House

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Legislation that would allow same day registration in Delaware has cleared the State House of Representatives.
House Bill 25(s) would do away with the current deadline to register to vote, which is almost a month before elections (the fourth Saturday before Election Day).
The voter would be required to show a valid and current government-issued photo or identification card or current document showing the name and address of the person, such as a utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck, in order to register at the polls.

“Currently, we have an arbitrary deadline several weeks before an election to register to vote, which disenfranchises potential voters. Upon missing this deadline, they are unable to cast ballots, even if they meet all other eligibility requirements. This is an outdated and unfair practice,” Representative Sherry Dorsey Walker, D-Wilmington said. “Election Day registration has existed in several states for decades and is proven to safely and effectively increase voter turnout. It is time for Delaware to be a leader in our nation, join other states, take this important step toward removing voting barriers and finally enfranchising our constituents.”

The bill goes on to the State Senate for consideration.

“Across the country, same-day registration has been demonstrated to increase voter turnout and make certain that no one who should be allowed to vote gets turned away at the polls,” State Senator Trey Paradee, D-Dover said. “I look forward to the swift passage of House Bill 25 in the Senate so that Delaware can join the many states across our nation that allow for same-day registration.”

Delaware Common Cause Executive Director Claire Snyder-Hall said in a statement:

The bill is important because all eligible voters should have the freedom to vote, unimpeded by early registration deadlines. Even people who do not pay attention until the week before the election or who have recently moved should not be faced with barriers to voting. In fact, the most common reason people use same-day registration in the 21 states that allow it is to update their address, and in Delaware Census data show that 12% of the population moves every year. Passing HS1 for HB25 would advance the goal of universal voter participation.

Same-day registration would remove a barrier to voting that disproportionately affects voters in Black and brown communities, low-income voters, and young voters. People who work multiple jobs or have less autonomy at work, those dealing with health issues, or the demands of parenting young children, or any other number of things, could all benefit from same-day registration. No Delawarean should be denied the freedom to vote because they missed an arbitrary and pointless early deadline to register. 

Finally, we know from the experiences of other states that implementing same-day registration would not be burdensome or costly. In fact, some states have found that the process is easier to manage than accepting and verifying paper provisional ballots. 

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