Delaware City council seat is back up for grabs after possible violations of voter’s rights during an April election.
A court ordered special election will be held to fill a Delaware City council seat after some voters were required to demonstrate that they were current on their taxes and other fees in order to vote. The vote that day ended in a tie, a tie that was broken when the city council voted to place Paul Parets on the council. Parets voluntarily resigned from office in order to comply with the new run-off election.
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden’s office has petitioned Superior Court to order the new election to fill the seat. His office is also developing legislation that will allow the state Elections Commissioner to overturn elections when voting qualifications violate federal or state law. In a statement, Biden says, “We want to ensure that there is a clear process in place for resolving questions about voter qualifications in the future.”
Biden and Elections Commissioner Elaine Manlove are sending out letters to every local government in the state to examine their elections provisions to make sure they are consistent with state and federal law. The letter warns about not just requirements for voters, but also requirements for candidates, “Additionally, provisions relating to the requirements to be a candidate in a municipal election may be constitutionally unsound. Requirements that a candidate be current on taxes and other local assessments or never have been committed to a mental institution may be problematic as well.”
Delaware City Mayor John Martin welcomed the election redo and thanked Councilman Parets for stepping aside to make the special election possible. No word yet on when that vote will be held.