Delaware Court Rules Early Voting and Permanent Absentee Voting Violate State Constitution

Published On: February 26th, 2024

(Dover, DE) – February 26, 2022: Delaware’s Superior Court ruled in the Public Interest Legal Foundation’s (PILF) lawsuit against the Department of Elections for enforcing election statutes that violate the state’s constitution.

In 2019, the Delaware General Assembly passed a law that permitted early voting in person at least 10 days before the general Election Day. The Court ruled early voting violates the state’s constitution which requires the general election to be held on one specific day.

Additionally, a Delaware statute permitted registrants to apply to the Department of Elections for “permanent absentee status.” The law granted an individual eligibility to vote by absentee ballot in perpetuity, without consideration of the applicant’s eligibility in each subsequent election. The Court ruled this statute violates the state constitution because the constitution only allows for absentee voting with strict restrictions on eligibility.

“This decision invalidated Delaware laws that allowed for early and permanent absentee voting,” said PILF President J. Christian Adams. “States cannot pass election laws that conflict with their state constitution. This decision is a win for the rule of law.”

The Foundation’s client was Michael Mennella, an inspector of elections for the Delaware Department of Elections. Jane Brady of Brady Legal Group LLC served as local counsel.

This decision marks the Foundation’s second victory in Delaware. In 2022, the Foundation represented Michael Mennella in a successful lawsuit challenging the state’s law that allowed for universal vote by mail and same day voter registration. The Delaware Supreme Court ruled that both election practices were prohibited under the Delaware Constitution.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is the nation’s only public interest law firm dedicated wholly to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections. PILF has brought lawsuits and won victories in Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and across the United States.


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