State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Category: Delaware

In a Battle Between the Delaware General Assembly and a Municipality, The Legislature Won: How A New Delaware Law Prevents Municipalities from Establishing Burdensome Registration Requirements for Municipal Elections

By: Ecker Owen

According to a fairly recent survey conducted by the United States government, some 25.7 percent of Americans traveled to the beach over the preceding twelve-month period.  Moreover, in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, the beach season typically is considered to be between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Therefore, many people from the surrounding areas and states take a week off of work in the summertime, travel to towns along the beach with their friends and families, and then go back to their normal existences after their vacations have concluded.  But in all of this seasonal transiency, there are several questions that the average vacationer would never even bother think about: what happens to beach communities during the other approximately nine months out of the year, and who continues to live in those places during that non-summer time period?  The fact remains that a sizeable number of individuals live in beach communities during non-peak months.  Furthermore, like other, more static communities, beach communities require the existence of local governments to provide services and write ordinances that protect their constituents.  Obviously, these municipal governments necessitate the presence of elected officials to execute the governing process.  However, problems arise over the question of whether individuals existing within these communities for short periods of time should have the right to vote in these municipal elections.
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The Sunlight Keeps Shining: The Supreme Court’s Denial of Certiorari Means that Delaware’s Disinfectant Election Disclosure Law Remains

By: Owen Ecker

In the wake of Citizens United v. FEC, Delaware took it upon itself to counteract the perceived “opening of the floodgates” ushered in by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of corporate third party political expenditures.  As the state’s first major alteration in campaign finance laws for over two decades, House Bill 300, established to generate a greater amount of disclosure from third party advertisers, passed both houses of Delaware’s General Assembly by large margins (about 65 percent in the House of Representatives and 100 percent in the Senate) in 2012.  Thereafter, the Governor of Delaware signed the Delaware Elections Disclosure Act (the “Act”) into law, which became effective in 2013.  However, litigation ensued over the Act’s constitutionality, with one lawsuit making its way up to the Supreme Court.

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Third Circuit Upholds Delaware Election Disclosure Law

By: Briana Cornelius

Earlier this summer, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Delaware state election law that went into effect in 2013 and compels advocacy groups to disclose their political advertising donors.  The Third Circuit’s ruling reversed a district court’s grant of a preliminary injunction declaring the law’s disclosure requirements unconstitutional.

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How city and county councils are handling redistricting in the first state

by Colleen Nichols

Hurricane Irene was not the only thing to shake up Delaware this year. The 2010 Census has sent County and City Councils scrambling to create redistricting plans that reflect the changes in their districts’ populations and comply with regulations. According to Antonio Prado, Staff Writer for the Dover Post, the Dover Election Board sent a redistricting plan to the Dover City Council that complies with a 1988 consent decree that requires “a minority district with at least 65 percent black voters 18 years old and older.”

This consent decree settled a lawsuit between the NAACP and the city of Dover, in which “the NAACP successfully argued that Dover’s at-large system of council elections was detrimental to the equal representation of the city’s minority voters.” Continue reading

A community of interest speaks

by Colleen Nichols

Sussex County, Delaware may have just passed its redistricting plan, but not all members of the Sussex County community were pleased with the proposed districts.  On October 25, 2011, Jo Klinge, member of the League of Women Voters of Sussex County Redistricting Committee and editor of the LWVSC Voter newsletter, testified at the Sussex County Council hearing that the League still had very strong concerns with Sussex County’s proposed redistricting plan. She agreed to speak with me about these concerns.

The League of Women Voters of Sussex County Officers: Left to right: Valerie Driscoll, Cathy Ward, Sheila Zanine, Anne Riley, Jo Klinge (Missing: Esther Shelton) (from

Q.  What community of interest does the League of Women Voters of Sussex County represent?

A.  The League does not represent a community of interest as we define the term. Many of our members live in the Cape Region, but we were not speaking for that community.

Q.  What are the goals of the League’s community of interest? Continue reading

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