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Delaware Senate Democrats

Senate passes bill to allow same-day voter registration in Delaware

June 22, 2022

DOVER – The Delaware Senate on Wednesday passed legislation to allow same-day voter registration in Delaware, which will permit eligible state residents to register to vote on the same day they cast their ballots.

Sponsored by Rep. Sherry Dorsey Walker and Sen. Trey Paradee in 2021, House Substitute 1 for House Bill 25 would eliminate the current deadline on voter registration that is currently set for “the fourth Saturday prior to the date of the election.”

“Working families have enough to keep track of without having to remember an arbitrary voter registration deadline weeks before Election Day,” said Sen. Paradee, D-Dover. “We have worked hard to make voting as easy as possible for our neighbors, including the creation of an automatic voter registration system at the DMV and the addition of early voting 10 days before an election. I want to thank my colleagues in the General Assembly for also voting to remove the archaic voter registration deadline.”

Under HS 1 for HB 25, an eligible Delaware resident who has not previously registered to vote by Election Day could still register and cast a ballot as long as they can show a valid and current government-issued photo identification card or current document displaying their name and address, such as a utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck.

“Delaware has operated under an outdated system that sets an arbitrary deadline several weeks before an election to register to vote, which disenfranchises potential voters.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,” said Rep. Dorsey Walker, the bill’s lead sponsor. “Election Day registration has existed in several states for decades and is proven to safely and effectively increase voter turnout. I am proud to see Delaware take this critical step forward in removing voting barriers and enfranchising our constituents.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, same-day registration has existed in Maine, Minnesota and Wisconsin since the mid-1970s. Since then, more than 20 states and the District of Columbia have adopted same-day registration, and several other states are contemplating similar laws.

A study of the 2018 elections found that seven of the top 10 states with the highest turnout offered same-day voter registration. Voter turnout in states with same-day registration was seven percentage points higher than states without the option.

HS 1 for HB 25 now heads to Governor John Carney for his signature.