Lewes officials look to streamline voting

Move would eliminate need to register with city in municipal elections
November 12, 2022

Residents of Lewes have had to register with the state and city separately in order to vote. If they did not, the City of Lewes would not accept their vote during municipal elections. Mayor and city council are looking to end that practice and allow the state’s voter roll to count toward eligibility.

A memorandum of understanding between the city and state could also open up city hall as a voting registration center.

Lewes Charter allows mayor and city council to adopt the state roll for use in municipal elections. During an Oct. 27 workshop, officials discussed what adoption would mean for the city moving forward. The qualifications for voter registration are the same for Lewes and Delaware, meaning the move would streamline the process and eliminate what has been determined to be an unnecessary step. As long as a person can show proof they are a bona fide resident of Lewes, their state registration will apply for municipal elections. 

The proposed MOU explains how the Delaware Department of Elections and city will work in tandem to verify the accuracy of registrations. City staff will train to become registrars, while voters will be able to register at city hall during regular business hours. Deadlines at the state and municipal level still apply, and unregistered Lewes residents wishing to vote will need to register 15 days prior to any city election. 

Lewes Board of Public Works customers will still need to register with the BPW to vote in its elections. Voting requirements for BPW elections differ from the state and can include out-of-state business owners. Mayor and city council will talk about the MOU and ordinance during its Monday, Nov. 14 meeting, paving the way for a possible vote on the issue.


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