Skip to main content
Delaware Senate Democrats

Delaware Senate Leadership reaffirms support for early and absentee voting, condemns GOP for obstructing voting rights

February 26, 2024

In response to the Delaware Superior Court’s decision declaring the State’s early voting and permanent absentee statutes unconstitutional, Senate President Pro Tempore Dave SokolaSenate Majority Leader Bryan Townsend, and Senate Majority Whip Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman issued a joint statement:

“Despite Democrats’ ongoing efforts to modernize Delaware’s elections and give voters more flexibility, Republicans have blocked Delawareans from their rights to no-excuse absentee voting, vote-by-mail, same-day registration, and now, early voting and permanent absentee voting.

Friday’s Superior Court ruling marks a significant blow to thousands of Delawareans who require predictable, hassle-free access to absentee voting. At the same time, we are heartened that the Judge, in his opinion, made clear that the spirit of our voting reform efforts was never in judgment.

Indeed, the loss of voting rights in Delaware is not the fault of our judiciary. Although these barriers are re-emerging after rulings by Delaware judges, the blame does not lie with them. This is not a partisan issue within a judiciary tasked with interpreting constitutional language. It’s a partisan issue in the General Assembly where Republicans have refused to support changes to modernize the Delaware Constitution that would enhance the ability of Delawareans to participate in elections.

It would be easy to focus on former Delaware GOP Chair Jane Brady and Senate Minority Leader Gerald Hocker—the attorney and plaintiff, respectively, in the lawsuit that suddenly has shredded Delaware’s established practices of 10-day early voting and permanent absentee voting status for Delawareans with disabilities. But blame must also be placed squarely at the feet of House Minority Leader Mike Ramone and Rep. Mike Smith, who both represent Democratic-majority districts and together changed their votes to block a constitutional amendment on voting rights after President Trump began peddling the Big Lie of a stolen election in 2020.

While the Senate has the Democratic majority needed to pass constitutional amendments over Republican obstructionism, the House requires two Republicans to show courage and support a constitutional amendment—such as Sen. Darius Brown’s SB 3, which is pending in the House—or Delawareans will continue to face some of the most restrictive barriers to voting in the country.

Make no mistake. The future of our democracy is on the ballot this fall. As you head to the polls on Election Day, ask yourself if open and accessible elections are vital for a functioning democracy. And consider whether the legislators making it harder for you to vote are, in fact, deserving of your vote.”