Lawsuit filed to stop early voting in Delaware

New law violates state Constitution, suit claims
February 24, 2022

A lawsuit challenging early voting in Delaware based on a conflict with the state’s constitution was filed Jan. 24 in Delaware Chancery Court.

Filed by former Attorney General M. Jane Brady’s legal group on behalf of an election inspector, the lawsuit states that Delaware’s early voting laws, set to take effect in 2022, conflict with and violate the Delaware Constitution because those laws expand the administration of the general election beyond its constitutionally designated day. 

Per the state constitution, the state’s general election is to be held on a Tuesday after the first Monday in the month of November for an election year.

Brady, however, said provisions in the constitution only apply to the general election, not primary elections or special elections, such as the one planned March 5 for the 4th District representative seat.

“The language of the constitution itself and court decisions make clear that the provisions we feel are being violated only apply to the general election,” she said.

Permanent absentee voting law also violates the constitution, according to the lawsuit.

“[Statutes] grant eligibility to vote by absentee ballot indefinitely, and without consideration of the applicant’s eligibility at each subsequent election, as required by the constitution,” the suit states.

The state constitution provides that a registered and qualified elector “may cast a ballot at such general election,” with emphasis on the word “a” and “such general election,” the suit states.

“Mr. [Michael] Mennella serves as an inspector for the Delaware Department of Elections. His obligation is to be sure that the people who vote are entitled to do so under the law. The conflict in the laws requires him to choose between following the law and violating his oath,” Brady said.

The lawsuit seeks to end Delaware’s permanent absentee voter list because there could be deceased people on the list. The suit cites the Social Security Death Index and published obituaries as sources to confirm the number of dead people on the absentee voter list. “One of the potentially deceased registrant’s reported date of death is 2020,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit asks the court to declare Delaware’s early voting law and its permanent absentee voting status in violation of the constitution and prevent them from being allowed. 

Group plans to file voter roll complaint

An election integrity group is planning to file a formal complaint against the Delaware Department of Elections over its database that contains dead voters.

Patriots for Delaware said more than 1,100 dead voters cast votes in the November 2020 election. The group is calling on Attorney General Kathleen Jennings and Election Commissioner Anthony Albence to conduct a full investigation into the possibility of voter fraud and explain, “how and why dead people were permitted to vote in our 2020 General Election,” according to a press release issued Feb. 22 by the group.

The group also announced it plans to provide more details about the complaint Monday, Feb. 28, at the Department of Elections in Dover.

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