Delaware now has what’s billed as the state’s first statewide coalition focused strictly on expanding access to voting.
The Delaware Voting Rights Coalition plans to work for passage of a bill that would implement permanent, no-excuse absentee voting, allowing Delawareans to vote by mail. House Bill 75 is a constitutional amendment requiring passage in two consecutive General Assemblies.
The group also supports same-day voter registration.
“The way our state Constitution is written right now, very clearly in a prescriptive way, outlines the exact circumstances under which somebody can vote absentee,” Representative David Bentz, D-Newark, Bear, New Castle said. “This prevents us from going into the state code to amend absentee voting law and things like that to make it more accessible and allow more people to utilize it, because the constitutional language is so restrictive.”
According to Tom Irvine of the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice, for some people “it’s very hard to go vote in a 12-hour window if you’re working one or two jobs, if you’re commuting, if you have difficulty in terms of a narrow ground for early voting.”
“The Black community has strived for voting access as a means of both empowerment and justice in pursuit of the American dream for years, decades now,” Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Alpha Nu Sigma Alumnae Chapter President Courtnee Jordan-Cox added. “Removing unnecessary barriers to voting will increase voting participation and help us reach our goals and becoming a more just nation that is stronger together.”
The following were listed as members of the Delaware Voting Rights Coalition:
ACLU-DE, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. – Gamma Theta Lambda Chapter, Common Cause Delaware, Delaware State Association of Letter Carriers, Delaware United, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Wilmington (DE) Alumnae Chapter, League of Women Voters of Delaware, Network Delaware, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Alpha Nu Sigma Alumnae Chapter, Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice, Unitarian Universalist Delaware Advocacy Network, VOTAMOS / We Vote Coalition, and YWCA Delaware.