Municipal elections (outside of the City of Wilmington, referenda or annexation elections, Arden, Ardentown, Ardencroft, the Board of Public Works of the City of Lewes, and the New Castle Municipal Service Commission) are governed by Delaware Code, Title 15, Chapter 75.)
Municipalities holding elections are required to include elections on their website (if they have a website): https://delaware.gov/topics/municipalities
MUNICIPAL ELECTION LAW
House Bill 410 established a new municipal election code for the State. It changes the way municipal elections are conducted which may be different than the Municipality's current Charter.
- Requires each municipality to appoint a Board of Elections as provided in a municipality’s charter or code to oversee the election of the municipality’s government.
- Establishes a complaint procedure whereby a citizen can make a written complaint to the Board of Elections with appeals possible to the Commissioner of Elections and Superior Court.
- Establishes standards for posting notices regarding an election of the municipality’s government.
- Requires voters to show proof of identity and address at the polls, but permits a majority of the Election Officers to attest to a person’s identity and address.
- Establishes standards for declaring candidacy.
- Provides that the rules for absentee voting shall be as provided in Title 15 of the Delaware Code for Primary, General and Special Elections.
- Establishes standards for the conduct of the election.
- Establishes standards for recounts, when an elected member may take office, certification of an election and for resolving election contests.
Introduction to Municipal Elections
In 2006 the State of Delaware enacted legislation to standardize some election practices of all the municipalities of Delaware, with the exception of Wilmington and some towns that are exempted due to unique ownership.
Conduct of the Election
The act provides responsibilities of the town's Board of Election to insure election procedures are maintained, including oath's to administer, signs to post, and Election Day actions. Some training and forms to assist the towns are to be provided by the State Election Offices.
A municipality must provide a minimum of 20 days for citizens to file as candidates for the elected offices. Furthermore, a minimum of 20 days must exist from the candidate filing deadline to the election of the candidates. To provide for election appeal and review candidates can not take office earlier than 7 days after the election.
All election information including candidate and voter qualification, election and registration dates, and absentee voter information (if charter permits) must be conspicuously posted and must appear on the municipality’s WEB site, if the municipality has one.
The Affidavit found on this page is a template to be used by municipalities. To receive an affidavit to request an absentee ballot, please contact the municipality directly.
Voter and Candidate Qualifications
The act provides standards if these are not in the town’s charter. Also certain Campaign Finance documents need to be filed with the Office of the Commissioner of Elections to insure your candidates comply with the Delaware Campaign Finance and Disclosure Act of 1990.
Complaint and Appeal Procedure
The act provides a citizen an administrative remedy to the municipality’s Board of Election with further appeal of the Board of Election’s decision to the Commissioner of Elections for violations of election procedures rather than an expensive and time consuming Judicial appeal.