Nuances of Automatic Voter Registration in Delaware
Let’s start off 2024 by being proactive in at least one area—voting. As the assaults on LGBTQ+ legal rights continue to escalate, voting representatives into office who are sensitive to the needs of our community becomes even more crucial.
In Delaware, it has recently become easier for all new Delaware residents to register to vote through automatic voter registration (AVR). The way it works is that when someone who is not already registered to vote in Delaware completes an in-person or online application for the issuance or renewal of their Delaware driver’s license, learner’s permit, or state identification card, or completes an in-person or online application to change their name or address on these documents, that person is automatically registered to vote by the Department of Elections.
This may give the impression that one needs to do nothing more, but such is not the case. That’s because voters who are automatically registered to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)—i.e., automatic voter registration, or “AVR” voters—are automatically registered with “No Party” affiliation (i.e., not affiliated with any party) as of the date of their DMV transaction. This is critically important because Delaware has closed primaries; only registered voters from participating parties may vote in the April Presidential Primary and the September State Primary.
So, AVR Voters need to take one more step to secure all of their voting rights: they need to identify their party preference. This can be done in two ways:
Respond to the Notice of Registration that the Department of Elections mails out immediately following a person’s AVR, by completing and submitting to the Department the Response to Automatic Voter Registration form included in the Notice mailing to designate their party.
All voters, including AVR Voters, can and should check their party affiliation by logging onto ivote.de.gov. Choosing or changing party affiliation may be done all the way through the day of the FIRST Primary Election following their automatic voter registration at the DMV. Click on How do I register to vote or update my record? and fill in the requested information.
Note that identifying a party affiliation does not affect one’s ability to vote for any candidate in the General Election in November 2024 because that is an open election. And everyone is free to switch affiliation back to “No Political Party” should they choose to do so. ▼
CAMP Rehoboth Advocacy Committee Members: Daniel Bruner, David Garrett, Leslie Ledogar, Sherri McGee
Photo: Allison Saeng on Unsplash.