The Town shall hold annual municipal elections for the offices of Commissioners as established by the Charter of the Town and following the procedures established in the Charter, state law, 15 Del. C, Ch. 75, Subchapter IV, § 7501 et seq., and this chapter.
Voting machines obtained through the State of Delaware Department of Elections shall be used. The Town shall contract with the Department of Elections to conduct elections.
A notice of solicitation of candidates shall be posted within the Town no later than 20 days prior to the filing deadline for the offices up for election and shall include the term(s) of each office up for election, the deadline and procedure for declaring candidacy for an office up for election and the qualifications for holding each office.
A notice of election shall be posted within the Town no later than 20 days prior to the date of the election and shall include: the date, time and location of the election; the candidates for each office on the ballot; and the qualifications to vote in the election.
Deadlines falling on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday in the Town shall be extended to the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, which deadlines shall be no earlier than 4:30 p.m.
Not later than 60 days prior to the election, the Mayor shall appoint, with the concurrence of the Town Council, a Board of Election consisting of an Inspector and two judges who shall be qualified voters in the Town and who shall not be an elected official or an immediate family member of an elected official.
The term of the Board of Election shall be one year.
Upon confirmation, the appointed members of the Board of Election shall swear or affirm the following oath orally and in writing:
The names of the Board of Election shall be posted within the Town and shall be forwarded to the Department of Elections.
The Board of Election shall hear any complaints regarding any aspect of pre-election activity that is contrary to this ordinance, the Charter or applicable state law using the procedure established in 15 Del. C. § 7552, as it may be amended from time to time.
Pursuant to 15 Del. C. § 7555, candidates shall file a certificate of intention or a statement of organization establishing a campaign committee with the Delaware Department of Elections no later than seven days after filing a notice of candidacy/declaration of candidacy with the Town (Charter § C-6B).
Election officers. The Commissioners shall appoint election officers, who may also be members of the Board of Election, in sufficient number to conduct the election with the Board of Election. The Inspector shall be chief election officer in the polling place. The Inspector shall determine all challenges and all other issues involving the conduct of the election at the polling place. The Board of Election may provide advice and guidance to the election officers. The Board of Election may remove election officers who violate the provisions of this chapter, the Charter or state law.
Conduct of the election. Only the persons authorized by 15 Del. C. § 7558(b) may be in the polling place and voting room.
Electioneering practices. 15 Del. C. § 4942 applies to such practices.
Challenges and challengers.
Each candidate on the ballot may appoint and accredit one or more suitable persons as challengers. One challenger at a time for each candidate may be present inside the polling place to observe the conduct of the election and all election records. Challengers may be changed and their places filled in like manner during the day. Each challenger shall present to the Inspector an authorization from his/her candidate for that election. Each candidate may have additional challengers present equal to the number of election machines being utilized.
The Inspector shall issue each challenger a badge which shall be worn while in the polling place. If the challenger leaves the polling place, the challenger shall surrender the badge to the Inspector.
Challengers may act as peace officers with the same powers of preserving the peace as election officers; however, challengers may be ejected by the Inspector for persisting in objectionable behavior.
Any person legally in the polling place may challenge any voter for identity, address or bribery. The Inspector shall hear each challenge before the person being challenged enters a voting machine. Once the Inspector decides the challenge, the matter is decided and the challenged person will be either permitted to vote or not permitted to vote and to leave the polling place immediately. However, a person challenged for bribery may take and subscribe to the oath as provided in 15 Del. C. § 4940 and be permitted to vote.
Voting machines; supplies; certification. The Department of Elections shall prepare the voting machines for the election and supervise the preparation and certification of the machines with two members of the Board of Election.
Oath of office for the Inspector and any other appointed election officer, including the Board of Election, if acting as election officers, shall be as set out in 15 Del. C. § 7558(f), as follows:
Preparation of polling place. The election officers shall arrive at least one hour prior to the opening of the polls, prepare the polling place, post signs, and certify with the Department of Elections the voting machines, all as provided in 15 Del. C. § 7558(i).
A person shall show proof of identity and address which the election officers shall check against the Town's voter or registration books. Once verified as a qualified voter, the person shall sign the voter log and be directed to the voting machine. If the person is challenged, the Inspector shall determine whether the person is qualified to vote. The Inspector's determination is final and there is no appeal at the polling place.
If a person has voted by absentee ballot, that person shall not be permitted to vote at the polling place. The Town shall provide to the Board of Election and election officials the list of persons who have returned absentee ballots prior to the opening of the polls. Any person who returns an absentee ballot while the polling place is open shall not be permitted to vote in person but the absentee ballot shall be included with other absentee ballots.
At close of polls. The Inspector shall announce the closing of the polls 30 minutes prior to such closing and at the closing time. Any person in line at the time the polls closed shall be permitted to vote.
The election officials shall, with the representative of the Department of Elections, remove the cartridges and tapes from each voting machine, record the protective counter and seal numbers on the Voting Machine Certificate, closing the voting machines, complete the vote tabulation for the election, and post a copy of the results tape from each voting machine on the door of the polling place. The election officials shall deliver all election documents to the Board of Election, which shall secure the documents until such time that they need to canvass the election.
The Board of Election shall announce the results of an election as soon as possible following the close of the polls.
Election contests are subject to 15 Del. C. §§ 5941 through 5955.
A person certified by the Board of Election as being elected shall not take office before the seventh day following the election.
Whoever willfully makes a false absentee statement shall be guilty of perjury and shall be punished as in such case by law provided.
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 Commissioners 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 article shall be imprisoned not less than 15 days nor more than 30 days.
Whoever fraudulently signs the name of a voter to the absentee statement on any voucher envelope shall be guilty of forgery and shall be punished for such crime as by law provided.
Whoever, being an elected officer or public official, knowingly violates this section and thereby aids in any way the illegal casting of a vote, or attempting to cast a vote; or connives to nullify any provision of this section, in order that fraud may be perpetrated shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $100 and imprisoned not less than 15 days nor more than 30 days.
Whoever, in any way in voting or attempting to vote himself, or any other person pursuant to the provisions of this article 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.