Idea to register and vote on same day floated in Delaware legisature

Ater and election where many states made it harder to vote.  The Delaware legislature will consider a bill to make the state the 12th in the U.S. to allow residents to register and vote on the same day.

House Bill 105 was introduced today by Delaware Rep. John Viola and is designed to increase voting participation in the state by making it more convenient for residents to register.

The bill would allow registration at a polling place for a “presidential or state primary or general or special election by showing a valid government-issued photo identification card, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or other government document displaying the name and address of the person registering to vote.”

As it stands now, residents must register to vote at least three weeks before an election.

The bill would not effect local elections.

According to Elaine Manlove, Delaware election commissioner, many voters don’t realize that they aren’t registered until they get to the polling location, and then it’s too late.

“That’s always where the rubber meets the road,” said Elaine Manlove. “People came in and they thought they had registered to vote or they didn’t realize they’d been purged and then it’s too late. So the Election Day registration eliminates that problem.”

Along with HB 105, Governor Jack Markell announced that the state will begin implementing online voting registration using an E-signature system.

“Citizens who register using the online system will have to provide their Delaware Driver license number or their Delaware ID card number and the dept of elections will verify that information with the DMV as it does today with mail-in registration,” explained Markell.

Currently, voters have to print, sign and mail in their registration, which is time consuming to both voters and the Department of Elections.

The E-signature system was implemented at the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles in 2009, and has saved the state both time and money.

“I think we calculated well over $200,000 a year, every year going forward,” said Manlove. “It eliminated positions in my office and it sped things up at DMV so ever since 2009, when you go to DMV and apply for your drivers license or update your information, you’re signing that little credit card pad and that information goes directly to the county elections office to get processed. It’s amazingly fast.”

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