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Delaware Senate Democrats

Statement from Sen. Nicole Poore on HB 38

April 11, 2019

DOVER – House Bill 38 passed the Senate 16-5 on Thursday and is now headed to the governor’s desk for signature. The bill would allow Delawareans to vote up to 10 days ahead of Election Day, in person, at one of four voting early voting locations spread across all three counties, making Delaware the 36th state to offer early voting.

Sen. Nicole Poore, D-New Castle and prime Senate sponsor of HB 38, said that the bill would help Delawareans more easily access the polls and drive participation in the electoral process.

“Democracy, by its definition, depends on elections,” she said. “Through their right to vote, the people decide who should serve in government and what policies we should enact. And yet, we struggle to get even half of eligible voters to exercise that right.

“Right now, participating in the electoral process – the activity that supports our whole system of government — is limited to 13 hours on one day, every two years, and you absolutely have to be there in person. Busy at work? Family emergency? Right now in Delaware, you’re out of luck. If you can’t make it between 7 and 8, you will not be allowed to vote until the next election, essentially silencing your voice for the next 2 years.

“We can do better than that.

“Think about this: we live in a world where life is so hectic and demands are so great that every major innovation of the last decade has centered on convenience. You can now shop from home, in your pajamas, at 2 a.m. You can do your banking from your phone on a Sunday. But we still restrict voting to 13 hours on one single day.

“35 states — 35 states! Both red and blue! — have managed to figure this out and extend the voting period to multiple days. In 2018, 47 million people across the country voted early.

“HB 38 is long overdue. Not only will it encourage more people to participate in government, it will also reduce lines on Election Day. It will allow more time to discover and correct voting machine errors. And it will make voting easier and more convenient for the people we were elected to serve.

“I’m thrilled to see this bill pass today and I look forward to joining the Governor and my colleagues in the House to sign it as soon as possible.”