Seaford to begin using statewide system to register voters

By Glenn Rolfe
Posted 8/27/21

SEAFORD — It’s out with the old and in with the new for voter registration in Seaford.

City leaders have shelved registration through the “Book of Registered Voters” and are switching to Delaware’s statewide voter-registration system, used for state, county and national elections.

Create an account for additional free stories

Thank you for visiting BayToBayNews. Registered visitors can read 5 free stories per month. Visit our sign-up page to register for your free stories.


Start a digital subscription today!

Subscribers can read unlimited stories for a special introductory rate of $5.99 per month.

Subscribers, please log in to continue

Seaford to begin using statewide system to register voters

Posted

SEAFORD — It’s out with the old and in with the new for voter registration in Seaford.

City leaders have shelved registration through the “Book of Registered Voters” and are switching to Delaware’s statewide voter-registration system, used for state, county and national elections.

“We started looking at this a couple years ago because the complaints came from candidates that they were missing votes because people hadn’t come in and voted,” said Seaford Mayor David Genshaw. “The switchover to the state was to do away with that. It should be easier. It should open access to more people and make it simpler. But it is new, and we’re going to work through that.”

Registration in the state system through the Department of Elections will be required. There are several options: Delaware’s online registration system at ivote.de.gov; in person at Department of Elections offices; at mobile registration events; by mail; and at certain government agencies, such as the Division of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Labor.

“There are a few different ways to do it,” said Sussex County Department of Elections Director Kenneth “Bo” McDowell. “They can always just call us, and we’ll walk them through.” The number is 856-5367.

Under this system, the city will receive a database of registered voters from the state.

“We have to go through that database and signify what addresses are in the city limits. Your name as a registered voter is going to come up,” said Seaford City Manager Charles Anderson. “It is physically going to change slightly on how you do that. The addresses will be in there, but you, as a registered voter, your name will also be in there. Now, we are reliant on this other database that the state keeps. We think it is equally as good or better.”

Once registered, a resident remains so in perpetuity, unless there is a change of address.

“It’s important now that you are properly registered with the state of Delaware and (your) license and everything matches your address,” Mr. Anderson said.

City Council unanimously passed this change earlier this year. If there is a need for a city election, the new system will make its debut in mid-April 2022.

For many years, voters in Seaford municipal elections had to be registered in the “Book of Registered Voters.”

“We are going to change over to the state, this next election,” Mayor Genshaw said. “If you are registered for state or national elections and you live in the city limits, and it matches your license, you will now be able to vote in a city election without coming in and signing the book.”

There is one exception: “Seaford is still going to honor nonresident property owners with the right to vote in a city election. They still have to sign the book,” the mayor said. “Again, once you sign, you are done. You don’t have to keep doing it.”

Typically, a large percentage for voters in Seaford elections have been senior citizens.

“They move here from other places. But they are pretty good about getting their license updated with the correct address,” said Mayor Genshaw. “Again, if you don’t update your address — you move from outside of town to in-town — and you don’t go over to Georgetown and update your address, then yes, you still may be listed as a nonvoter for us. And I say that is the voter’s responsibility. We can’t babysit everybody on updating their addresses. That is a personal responsibility, and you need to take care of that.”

The city will work with residents to ensure they are properly registered.

“It’s new for us,” said Mr. Anderson. “With anything new, it’s going to be a learning process for us and change for our residents. We want to help them as much as we can.”