State of Delaware

Delaware Eligible Incarcerated Voter Disenfranchisement Challenge

Prisoners Legal Advocacy Network v. Carney

Lawsuit filed on behalf of the Prisoners Legal Advocacy Network against Gov. John Carney (D), Election Commissioner Anthony Albence (D) and Acting Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction Terra Taylor. The lawsuit argues that people currently incarcerated in Delaware who are either detained awaiting trial or have been convicted of a non-disqualifying misdemeanor are eligible voters, but the state of Delaware disenfranchises them. The Delaware Department of Elections does not provide in person voting machine options and due to the Delaware Supreme Court’s decision in Higgin v. Albence, eligible incarcerated voters do not have access to absentee voting. 

“Delaware now deprives Delaware’s eligible incarcerated voters—unable to vote in-person or absentee—of any way to exercise their fundamental constitutional right to vote, thus violating the First and Fourteenth Amendments,” the complaint reads.  

The plaintiff alleges that denying eligible incarcerated voters the right to vote violates the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiff also alleges that Delaware’s carceral system unconstitutionally discriminates in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The plaintiff asks the court to declare that Delaware’s laws and policies deprive eligible voters from having access to “a constitutional means by which to cast a ballot” and ask the court to require the defendants to provide eligible incarcerated individuals with voting access. 

Case Documents

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