Delaware’s Supreme Court throws out two controversial election laws

Much to the dismay of Delaware Democrats, the state’s highest court just took a huge step toward protecting the integrity of the state’s election.

The Delaware Supreme Court did so, according to Delaware Public Media, by ruling that two recently-passed election laws – one instituting same-day registration laws and one implementing universal vote-by-mail – are unconstitutional. 

The lawsuit

Delaware Democrats, like many Democrats across the country, have been on a mission to make permanent the changes that were made to voting laws for the 2020 elections.

The difficulty, though, is that these changes are clearly at odds with the Delaware constitution. The Washington Examiner reports that the constitution states that voter registration is to take place 60 to 120 days before a general election, and it enumerates specific instances in which absentee voting is allowed.

Accordingly, to implement same-day registration and universal vote-by-mail laws, it would appear evident that Delaware Democrats have to pursue amendments to their constitution. And, for a while, they were, until that effort failed.

Over the summer, Delaware Democrats ditched the effort to amend the state constitution, and, instead, they passed legislation implementing the desired changes. That legislation, in July, was signed by Gov. John Carney (D).

The two pieces of legislation were subsequently challenged in court.

The decision

This week, on Friday, Delaware’s highest court, the Supreme Court of Delaware, ruled that the two laws passed by the Democrats are unconstitutional.

Due to the proximity of the midterm elections, the court only put out an abbreviated ruling for now. But, a complete decision is expected at some point in the future.

In the abbreviated ruling, the court ruled that the two laws are unconstitutional because they are at odds with the very voting requirements set forth by the Delaware constitution. The court ruled that amendments to the constitution would be needed to make such changes.

This means that the Democrats will not be able to use same-day registration and universal vote-by-mail laws in the upcoming midterm elections.

Democrats have expressed disappointment with the decision. Reports indicate that they were just getting ready to send mail ballots out on Oct. 10.