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Delaware House Democrats

House Majority Leadership Files Amendment to Add Protections for Early Voting to Senate Bill 3

February 29, 2024

DOVER- Building on earlier efforts to expand voting rights, lawmakers filed an amendment to Senate Bill 3 on Thursday ahead of the bill’s consideration in the House Chamber.

The amendment, introduced by Speaker Valerie Longhurst, House Majority Leader Melissa Minor-Brown, and House Majority Whip Kerri Evelyn Harris, would add additional protections for early voting to Delaware’s constitution.

The House amendment would constitutionally protect early voting in Delaware by requiring the state to offer in person early voting for 10 days before a general, primary or special election, including the weekend before Election Day.

“Barriers to the voting process need to be removed for the sake of fair, efficient, and transparent elections. Our goal has always been to foster a more robust democracy, where our communities will no longer feel that there are obstacles to exercising their right to vote,” said Reps. Longhurst, Minor Brown, and Harris in a joint statement.

“Our communities that have felt that their voices were muted such as low-income, shift workers, parents, seniors, veterans, those serving overseas and our disability community will have additional means to be heard. The time to act is now to ensure that our citizens, especially our most vulnerable communities, have measures in place that allow them to feel secure when they go to cast their ballot in our election process.”

SB 3, the first leg of a constitutional amendment sponsored by Sen. Darius Brown, would remove the limited circumstances under which the Delaware Constitution currently permits absentee voting and allow the General Assembly to set new rules and procedures through future legislation. The Senate passed SB 3 on May 4, 2023.

“I teach my students that voting is one of the most fundamental, important functions of a healthy democracy and that everyone who is eligible should have the opportunity to vote for their leaders,” said Rep. Sherae’a “Rae” Moore, SB 3’s lead House sponsor.

“We have a lot of Delawareans who find it difficult to get to the polls on election days and it is our responsibility to ensure that every eligible voter has the chance to participate fully in our democratic system. With the addition of this new amendment, we are further championing the principles of accessibility, inclusivity, and fairness in our electoral process.”

“I’m grateful for this quick work by legislative leaders to strengthen voting protections following last week’s surprise court ruling. Voting is our most fundamental right. We must all do our part — in court, in Legislative Hall, and in our neighborhoods and communities — to defend it,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings.

Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority in each chamber of the Legislature and must pass in identical forms in consecutive General Assemblies to become law. No signature from the governor is required.

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