WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Oct. 7, the Delaware Supreme Court simultaneously reversed a decision that upheld the state’s recently enacted same-day registration law and upheld a decision that struck down Delaware’s new no-excuse mail-in voting law. On Sept. 14, a lower court ruled the no-excuse mail-in voting law — which allows any voter to request a mail-in ballot without an excuse — is unconstitutional, but upheld same-day voter registration. The two groups of conservative plaintiffs in the case appealed the decision upholding same-day registration while the defendants, the Delaware Department of Elections and State Elections Commissioner Anthony Albence (D), appealed the decision that struck down no-excuse mail-in voting. Today, the court held that both laws are unconstitutional. This ruling means that neither same-day registration nor no-excuse mail-in voting will be in place in Delaware for the November 2022 elections.
Just one day after holding oral argument in the case, the court entered an abbreviated order striking down both pro-voting laws. In the order, the court ruled that both laws violate the Delaware Constitution, holding that “[t]he Vote-by-Mail Statute impermissibly expands the categories of absentee voters identified in Article V, Section 4A of the Delaware Constitution” and same-day registration “conflicts with the provisions of Article V, Section 4 of the Delaware Constitution.” A longer opinion explaining the order is forthcoming. Today’s decision is a loss for Delaware voters who would have benefited from increased access to the ballot box via same-day registration and no-excuse mail-in voting.