Town of Dagsboro, DE
Sussex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Dagsboro 11-24-1992 by Ord. No. 63. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Any qualified voter of the Town of Dagsboro may cast his vote by absentee ballot in any municipal election held under the provisions of Section 7 of the Charter, such votes to be counted in the total for the municipal election if he is unable to appear at the polling place because of being:
A. 
In the public service of the United States or of this state; or
B. 
In the armed forces of the United States or the merchant marine of the United States, or attached to and serving with the armed forces of the United States in the American Red Cross, Society of Friends or United Service Organizations; or
C. 
Unavoidably absent from the Town on the day of the municipal election; or
D. 
Sick or physically disabled; or
E. 
Because of his absence from the municipality while on vacation.
A. 
Any qualified voter desiring to receive an absentee ballot because he qualifies under any of the reasons set forth in § 267-1 of this chapter shall file an affidavit with the Town Council, subscribed and sworn to by him before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths. The affidavit shall be dated not more than 90 days prior to the day of the election. It shall state the reason why he cannot appear at the regular polling place for the municipal election on the day of the election, his birth date, social security number, his expected location, including his address and a telephone number (if available) to be used for the purpose of challenge on election day and, if sick or disabled, the name and address of a physician or Christian Science practitioner who can attest to the voter's ability to go to his polling place on the day of election. The Town Council shall mail or deliver the official ballot, envelopes and instructions to the voter as soon as possible after receiving the affidavit.
B. 
Nothing contained in this section shall prevent the issuance of an absentee ballot to any qualified voter serving in the armed forces of the United States, or the merchant marine of the United States, or attached to and serving with the armed forces of the United States in the American Red Cross, Society of Friends or United Service Organizations when such a voter is lawfully entitled to an absentee ballot and has made a request to the Town Council if, in the judgment of the Council, the voter has been reasonably unable to comply fully with the requirements for an affidavit set forth in Subsection A above.
Any voter who is qualified under § 267-1 of this chapter to vote by absentee ballot and who desires to do so shall, not later than 12:00 noon of the day prior to any such municipal election, request the Town Council for an official ballot to be voted at such election.
Upon receipt of a request from a voter, together with an affidavit if required by § 267-2 of this chapter, the Council, not more than 60 or less than 3 days prior to a municipal election and within 3 days after the ballots, envelopes and instructions for absentee voters become available, as provided by the general election law, shall mail to the voter, postage prepaid, an official ballot for the municipal election enclosed in an official envelope along with a voucher envelope marked "voucher envelope," an envelope marked "mailing envelope." Nothing contained in this chapter shall prevent the issuance of an absentee ballot to those lawfully entitled thereto prior to 12:00 noon of the day prior to any municipal election when the request is made less than 3 days prior to the municipal election.
There shall be printed on the face of each voucher envelope an affidavit in substantially the following form:
"I do solemnly swear (affirm) that I will be absent from the Town of Dagsboro on the day of election because of being: (  ) In the public service of the United States or this state, (  ) In the armed forces of the United States or the merchant marine of the United States, or attached to and serving with the armed forces of the United States in the American Red Cross, Society of Friends or the United Service Organization, (  ) Unavoidably absent from the municipality, (  ) Sick or physically disabled, (  ) Absent while on vacation. For the reason indicated, I cannot appear at the polling place in the municipality in which I am a qualified voter. I further swear (affirm) that I marked my ballot in secret.
"I, .... do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I have not received or accepted, or offered, to receive or accept, paid or transferred or delivered, or offered or promised to pay, transfer or deliver or contributed or offered or promised to contribute to another to be paid or used any money or other valuable thing as compensation, inducement or reward for the registering or abstaining from registering of anyone qualified to register or for the giving or withholding a vote at this election.
(Signed)
Print name.
"Subscribed and sworn (affirmed) before me this _____ day of __________, A.D. 20_____; and I hereby certify that the affiant did in such manner that I could not see his ballot mark such ballot and that the affiant was not solicited or advised by me to vote for or against any candidate.
(Signed)
Notary Public or other qualified person; state title."
A. 
The voucher envelope shall be of the type known as a security mailing envelope and shall be such as to securely protect the contents thereof from tampering, removal or substitution without detection. Such envelopes shall be successively numbered beginning with Number 1 printed in red ink in the upper right hand corner thereof.
B. 
The mailing envelope shall be large enough to carry the voucher envelope.
C. 
All envelopes used under the provisions of this section, including all envelopes in which the Council shall forward to an absentee voter an official ballot accompanied by the official envelope, the voucher envelope, a mailing envelope and instruction to absentee voters, and the carried envelope used by the Council for forwarding the returned marked ballot to the polls of the Town shall be uniform. The Mayor shall personally approve each kind or type of envelope and no department shall purchase, use, have printed upon mail or deliver any envelope for use under the provisions of this chapter unless such type or kind of such envelope has first been approved personally by the Mayor.
The Mayor shall prepare a list of instructions to assist an absentee voter in properly marking and returning his ballot under the provisions of this chapter which shall be known as "instructions to absentee voter." Before each municipal election the Mayor shall deliver a copy thereof to the Council in sufficient time for the Council to have such instructions printed and forwarded to absentee voters requesting an official ballot for the ensuing municipal election.
The absentee voter shall make and subscribe to the affidavit printed on the voucher envelope, before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths, and such voter shall thereupon in the presence of such officer, and of no other person, mark such ballot but in such manner that the officer cannot know how the ballot is marked, and the ballot shall then in the presence of the officer be deposited by the voter in the official envelope. The official envelope containing the ballot shall then be deposited in the voucher envelope, and the voucher envelope shall be securely sealed by the voter. Thereupon the voucher envelope containing the marked ballot shall be enclosed in the mailing envelope received by the voter from the Town Council and after the voter has enclosed the voucher envelope containing the marked ballot in the mailing envelope, he shall securely seal the mailing envelope and mail it, postage prepaid, to the Town Council of the Town of Dagsboro, or if more convenient, it may be delivered to the Town Council in person, to be received in either case, by the Town Council before 12:00 noon of the day before the election and not thereafter.
The absentee voter shall return his marked ballot enclosed in the voucher envelope to the Town Council of the Town of Dagsboro before 12:00 noon of the day before election; and any absentee ballot received by the Council after 12:00 noon of the day before election shall not be forwarded to the polls, but the Council shall endorse on the voucher envelope containing such ballot the time such was received and shall retain all such envelopes unopened and so endorsed until the last day of February next after the election, and longer if directed to do so by proper authority.
A. 
Upon receipt of the mailing envelope from the absentee voter, the Council or person authorized by it to do so shall open only the mailing envelope and take therefrom the voucher envelope containing the ballot of the absentee voter.
B. 
No person shall open or attempt to open the enclosed voucher envelope containing the ballot of the absentee voter, or change or alter, or attempt to do so, the envelope or any writing, printing or anything whatsoever thereon.
C. 
Any person authorized by the Council to do so shall immediately place the unopened voucher envelope in a special carrier envelope and securely seal the carrier envelope, which shall be kept safely in the Town office until delivered as provided in this chapter.
Before the absentee ballots are conveyed to the polling place, the Council shall securely seal all absentee ballots in one or more carrier envelopes which shall have printed thereon the following:
ABSENTEE BALLOT
for the
Municipal Election of the Town of Dagsboro
This carrier envelope contains absentee voter ballots and shall be opened only at the polls of said municipal election on election day while said polls are open. This carrier envelope and the enclosed voucher envelope(s) shall be preserved by the Board of Election and at the close of the count, shall be placed in the ballot box, into which the ballots have been put when read, and returned therewith.
When an absentee voter's ballot is received by the Council, the voucher envelope containing the marked ballot shall be safely and securely kept in the Town office until the day of the election when it shall be delivered to the polling place. A duly authorized representative of the Council shall deliver all such voucher envelopes, sealed in one or more carrier envelopes as set forth in § 267-11 of this chapter, to the Board of Election at the polling place after the opening of the polls and at least two hours before the closing of the polls. The representative, who shall carry suitable identification provided by the Council, shall obtain a receipt form the Board of Elections for delivery of the absentee ballots.
The Board of Elections shall refuse to receive any absentee voter's ballot from any person other than a duly authorized representative of the Council.
A. 
At any time between the opening and the closing of the polls on election day the Board of Election or a judge of the election shall open the outer or carrier envelope only and ascertain the name of the absentee voter as appears by the executed affidavit of the absentee voter on the voucher envelope enclosing the marked ballot, whereupon he shall announce the absentee voter's name for the purpose of challenges, and upon the determination that such person is a qualified voter of the Town of Dagsboro by comparing the voter's signature upon the voucher envelope with the signature of the voter appearing in the election record, and that such voter has not voted in person at the election he shall open the voucher envelope containing such absentee voter's ballot in such a manner as not to deface or destroy the number thereof, or the affidavit thereon, and take therefrom the official envelope containing the marked ballot, and without opening or permitting the official envelope to be opened or the contents examined, shall cause two members of the Board of Election to write their names on the official envelope, and shall then enter the name and address of the absentee voter on the poll lists. The ballot shall then be voted by depositing same (still in its official envelope) in the ballot box provided for receipt of absentee ballots, and the proper notations of such vote shall then be recorded in the election records in the same fashion as if the voter had appeared to cast his vote in person.
B. 
All voucher envelopes from which ballots have been taken and voted and all voucher envelopes containing ballots which have been rejected and endorsed as provided in § 267-16 of this chapter shall be preserved by the Board of Election and at the close of the count shall be placed in the ballot box as provided by the general election laws.
The vote of any absentee voter may be challenged for the same causes and in the same manner as provided in the Charter for other voters. In addition, the vote of an absentee voter may be challenged on the ground that the affidavit filed by the voter in compliance with § 267-2 of this chapter is false. Upon challenge, proceedings thereon shall be as provided elsewhere in this Charter.
A. 
In case the affidavit of absentee voter is found to be insufficient, or the absentee voter is not a duly qualified voter in such election, or the voucher envelope is open, or has been opened and resealed, or it is evident that the voucher envelope has been tampered with or altered, or such ballot has been forwarded to the polls by someone other than a duly authorized representative of the Council, such vote shall not be accepted or counted. If the voucher envelope has not been opened at the time the Board of Election decides that the offered ballot contained therein should be rejected for any of the foregoing reasons, it shall not be opened by the Board of Election but they shall endorse thereon "REJECTED," giving reason therefor, and if the voucher envelope has been opened and the ballot is rejected, the official envelope containing the ballot shall be replaced in the same voucher envelope from which it was taken and the Board of Election shall endorse on the voucher envelope "REJECTED," giving the reason therefor.
B. 
Whenever it is made to appear by due proof to the Board of Election that any absentee voter, who has marked and forwarded his ballot, has died, the voucher envelope containing the ballot shall not be opened but shall be marked "REJECTED, Dead," and shall be preserved and disposed of as other rejected ballots.
C. 
Whenever a ballot has not been counted but has been rejected for any reason, the Board of Election shall make the required notation on the absentee ballot tally sheet and shall note the number of ballots so rejected on the certificates of election.
If any request for an absentee ballot and accompanying envelopes or any marked ballot of any such voter are addressed to and returned to any official of the Town of Dagsboro other than the Town Council, then such other official shall immediately transmit such request or returned marked ballot to the Town Council, to be acted upon the Council as provided by this chapter.
A. 
Any affidavit required under the provisions of this chapter may be taken before any person with authority to administer oaths and affirmations in the place where such affidavit may be taken, and whenever taken outside this state, the authority of such person shall be conclusively presumed.
B. 
Any affidavit required under the provisions of this chapter, when made by a voter in the armed forces or merchant marine of the United States, or by persons serving with the American Red Cross, the Society of Friends and the United Service Organizations who are attached to and serving with the armed forces of the Untied States, may be taken before any commissioned or noncommissioned officer not below the rank of sergeant, or petty officer in the armed forces of the United States, or any member of the merchant marine of the United States properly designated for such purpose, or any other person authorized to administer and attest oaths or affirmations, and whenever taken outside the state, the authority of such person shall be conclusively presumed.
A. 
The Town Council shall maintain records providing for the prevention of fraud and to make possible the tracing and detection of any attempt to do so. Such records shall include the following entries: Name of voter; address; address where the ballot is to be mailed; date affidavit received by the Council; the date of the election; voucher number; date ballot mailed or delivered to the voter; date ballot is returned; the names of any physicians executing affidavits for sick or disabled persons; and the names of all officers administering oaths for all affidavits received.
B. 
The Town Council shall compile from its files a list of names and addresses of all applicants for absentee ballots, and shall send current and complete copies thereof without cost to all candidates on the ballot in the forthcoming election. Such lists shall be provided upon completion of the nominations of candidates.
A. 
If, on or before the first day of September in the year of a municipal election, in the joint judgment of the Mayor and the Town Solicitor, it is deemed expedient to make certain changes in the size, weight or material of the ballots, envelopes, instructions to absentee voters, form of request for ballot, form of affidavit of voter, the address or any other direction or printing or form of affidavit of voter, the address or any other direction or printing or endorsement upon the voucher or carrier envelopes, postage or manner of transmission, then such officers jointly shall cause to be made effective any or all such changes to the end that there shall be extended to the absentee voters full opportunity to receive and return a marked ballot to the Council for delivery to the polling place on election day to be acted upon and counted as other votes personally cast at such poll; provided, however, that the plan and arrangement of any official ballot and the list of candidates thereon, as provided by the general election law, shall not be changed or altered under any circumstance.
B. 
Upon the making of any such changes the Mayor and the Town Solicitor shall jointly in writing forthwith notify the Council of such changes, and the Council shall cause such changes to be carried into effect, and the ballots, envelopes and instructions, as so changed, to be so printed, transmitted and distributed.
A. 
Whoever willfully makes a false affidavit shall be guilty of perjury and shall be punished as in such case by law provided.
B. 
Whoever, other than the Board of Election on the day of the municipal election at the polls, opens or attempts to open any sealed voucher or carrier envelope; or whoever prints or causes to be printed any envelope identical or purportedly similar to the voucher envelope or either carrier envelope, other than the printing of such envelopes by the official printer selected by the Council for the printing of such envelopes pursuant to the provisions of this section; or whoever aids or abets, or attempts to aid or abet, any fraud in connection with any vote cast, or to be cast, under this chapter shall be imprisoned not less than 15 days nor more than 30 days.
C. 
Whoever fraudulently signs the name of a voter to the affidavit on any voucher envelope shall be guilty of forgery and shall be punished for such crime as by law provided.
D. 
Fines and penalties for violations of this chapter shall be as set forth in Chapter 1, Article II, of this Code.
[Amended 2-24-2014]
E. 
Whoever, in any way in voting or attempting to vote himself, or any other person pursuant to the provisions of this chapter who violates any of the provisions enacted to secure secrecy and the independence of the voter, preserve the freedom and purity of elections and prevent fraud, corruption and intimidation, shall be punished as provided by law.