The Delaware Supreme Court found both unrestricted mail-in voting and same-day voter registration to be violations of the state constitution, a Friday decision revealed.
Only one day after hearing oral arguments, judges concluded in a three-page ruling that legislation permitting the two practices would “impermissibly expand the categories of absentee voters identified.”
According to Newsmax, a high court previously ruled that mail-in voting was permissible during the COVID-19 pandemic, but only on the grounds of a public health emergency, the Center for Public Integrity noted.
Roughly one year later, Democrats in the state legislature attempted to codify the rule. That led to the Public Interest Legal Foundation filing a lawsuit on behalf of Republican lawmakers soon after.
The court’s decision comes a month ahead of the Nov. 8 general election and while the Department of Elections was preparing to send mail ballots to voters on Oct. 10. The ruling means this will not happen and Delaware will return to its more limited, pre-pandemic voting setup where one must vote in person or have an excuse to vote absentee and one must register weeks in advance of an election to cast a ballot. Delawareans must now register to vote by Oct. 15.
A spokesperson on behalf of Delaware Gov. John Carney, a Democrat, said he was disappointed in the Supreme Court’s ruling, which surprisingly sided with the Public Interest Legal Foundation and state Republicans.
“The governor’s position has been simple and consistent,” they told Delaware News Journal. “We should make it easier — not harder — for all eligible Delawareans to vote and participate in our democratic process.”