Pass HB 175 to Vote by Mail


The Delaware General Assembly has postponed the current session and is expected to act on only a few measures relevant to the current crisis—most prominently the state budget. Another critical issue is holding safe elections in 2020 by passing HB 175 which would allow voting by mail. We don’t want Delaware to become another Wisconsin.

HB 175 is on the House Ready List. Although the bill has no fiscal note, some Delaware legislators have expressed concern that voting by mail will increase costs. However, a 2016 study of Colorado from the Pew Charitable Trusts found that voting by mail decreased costs by an average of 40 percent in five election administration categories across 46 of Colorado’s 64 counties (those with available cost data).

In addition to reducing the risk from Coronavirus, voting by mail has many other advantages. A new Brennan Center poll found that almost four out of five Americans support voting by mail. A 2016 study of voting patterns in Utah concluded that voting by mail increased turnout by 5-7 points. Low-propensity voters, including young voters, showed the greatest increase in turnout in vote-by-mail counties relative to their counterparts in non-vote-by-mail counties.

The State Elections Commission would establish procedures for voting by mail. An application for a mail ballot must be available at least 45 days prior to the election, but voters could also simply submit a written request for a mail ballot. Mail ballots could either be mailed to the Commission, dropped at a polling place, or dropped in secure lock boxes available at public locations in all three Delaware Counties.

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