Need-to-Know Election Information for Fall 2020
(En Espanol: Información que Usted Necesita Saber en el Otoño 2020)
Election Day: November 3, 2020
Last Day to Register to Vote: October 10, 2020
How to Vote
- Vote by Mail – (HB346 allows mail-in voting for the 2020 general election)
- Mail-in ballot applications will be sent to every registered voter who has not already requested a ballot in a previous mail-in application. If you requested ballots for all 2020 elections in a previous application, then you will receive the ballot automatically.
- There are 4 options for mail-in requests: Complete mail-in application and mail (in a postage-paid envelope) to the Sussex County Dept of Elections (DOE), fax, or e-mail to the Sussex County DOE, or complete the application online at https://ivote.de.gov/VoterView.
- After the application is received by the DOE, you will receive your ballot in the mail.
- Complete the ballot and mail it back to the Sussex County DOE in the postage-paid envelope, hand-deliver it to the DOE, or drop it off in the election deposit box at the DOE. Make sure that you sign the back of the envelope.
- Vote by Absentee Ballot - Available for 2020 elections and future elections
- You can request an absentee ballot online at https://ivote.de.gov/VoterView or download an application from https://elections.delaware.gov/pubs/pdfs/absentee_ballot_application.pdf or request one be mailed to you by calling the Sussex County DOE.
- You must have a valid excuse for an absentee ballot, such as work, school, religion, vacation, illness, or disability.
- If your excuse is anything other than ill or physically disabled, you will receive your ballot by mail. You should complete the ballot and mail it to the Sussex County DOE, or drop it off at the Dept of Elections.
- If you are ill or physically disabled, you will be able to request and return your ballot by mail, fax, or e-mail. The latter will allow you to complete your ballot online.
- You can request a permanent absentee ballot by applying in writing to the Sussex County DOE. You will automatically be sent a ballot for each election when you are granted permanent status.
- Vote in Person
- Most polling locations will be open except for senior centers. Check your polling location on your mail-in ballot application or at https://ivote.de.gov/VoterView.
- You can vote at the polls if you requested a mail-in or absentee ballot but DID NOT complete and return the ballot.
- All voting equipment will be cleaned and sanitized after every voter. Masks will be required and social distancing will be practiced.
- New election machines that print out your ballot will be used. Verify that the printed ballot reflects your choices before finalizing your vote. View a video on using the new voting machines at https://elections.delaware.gov/technology/index.shtml
- The DOE will be recruiting more than 4000 poll workers. These are compensated positions. If interested go to https://elections.delaware.gov/information/electionofficers.shtml.
- Voting Tips
- If you decide to vote by mail-in or absentee ballot, you can track the progress of your ballot request and ballot return online at: https://ivote.de.gov/VoterView.
- If you are concerned about mailing your ballot, you can hand-deliver the ballot to the Sussex County DOE during working hours, or you can deposit it in the dropbox at the Sussex County DOE. All ballots must be at the DOE by 8 pm on the day of the election.
- Ballots can be hand-delivered to the DOE by someone other than the voter but must be designated to do so by the voter.
- VOTE EARLY. Process ballot requests and ballots promptly to avoid unforeseen delays. Ballots will be scanned into the system at the DOE 30 days before an election, but they will not be counted until after the polls close on election day.
DE Department of Elections Offices & Contact Information
Hours of operations: Weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Department of Elections - Sussex County Office
County Director: kenneth.l.mcdowell [at] delaware.gov (Kenneth L. McDowell)
County Deputy Director: jean.m.turner [at] delaware.gov (Jean M. Turner)
Office Address: 119 N. Race St., Georgetown, DE 19947
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 457, Georgetown, DE 19947
Phone: (302) 856-5367
Fax: (302) 856-5082
Email (General Info): votessc [at] delaware.gov
Email (Absentee Voting): absenteesc [at] delaware.gov
Email (Vote by Mail): votebymailsc [at] delaware.gov
Office of the State Election Commissioner
State Election Commissioner: anthony.albence [at] delaware.gov (Anthony J. Albence)
Office and Mailing Address: 905 S. Governors Ave Ste 170, Dover, DE 19904
Phone: (302) 739-4277
Fax: (302) 739-6794
Email (General Info): coe_vote [at] delaware.gov
Candidate profiles and the latest election information are available at the VOTE411.org online voter guide by the League of Women Voters. VOTE411 provides personalized voting information: see what's on your ballot, check your voter information, find your polling place, and much more! Now available in Spanish (Información electoral que necesita, disponible también en Español).
Are You registered to Vote?
Verify your voter registration here. Take a minute to confirm that you are registered to vote in Delaware. Protect your right to vote by making sure that you are registered. That website, iVote.DE.gov, provides you with polling locations and links for editing your registration, obtaining an absentee ballot, etc.
Register to Vote
Are you registered to vote? Do you want to change your party, your address, your name? Go to iVOTE.DE.gov to register online or to find out how to change personal information, how to vote by absentee ballot, what to do if you are overseas in the military, etc.
You can also register to vote via mail by printing and completing this form and returning it according to the instructions. The form can also be requested by calling the Department of Elections Sussex County Office at 302-856-5361. Voter registration can be completed in person at 119 N. Race St, P.O. Box 457, Georgetown, DE 19947. Or you may register at any of these agencies if you have other business there: Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Health & Social Services, and the Department of Labor.
Registration is Permanent:
Your voter registration is permanent, but it is your personal responsibility to keep the residence and mailing address on your voting record current and updated. To alleviate problems on Election Day, the Delaware code allows changes of name and/or address, even after the registration deadline. You can submit a change of information using the State of Delaware Voter Portal at ivote.de.gov.
Choosing a Party or Not Choosing a Party:
You must be a registered Democrat to vote in a Democratic Primary or a registered Republican to vote in a Republican Primary. Deadlines for changing party affiliation before the primary has passed.
Delaware's Voting Machines
Delaware purchased new voting systems in 2018. The new machines were used for the first time in the school board elections in May 2019. After you mark your choices on the electronic screen, the new voting machines print a paper ballot as the ballot of record. It is very important to carefully review the paper ballot to make sure it reflects your true choices, before finalizing your vote. The paper ballot will be used for recounts when needed, and for routine post-election audits that verify machine accuracy.
Watch this Delaware Department of Elections short demonstration video to see how to cast your vote using the new machines.
The League of Women Voters of Delaware has sponsored a series of civics videos now posted on YouTube, entitled, We’re the WE in "We the People". It is a crash course on government for those who have never had a civics course and a brush-up course for those who have but need to be reminded why it matters.
It is composed of 2 groups of videos with 7 segments on the Federal Constitution and 3 on the Delaware Constitution. It was funded in part by Delaware Humanities.
Watch the videos to learn how your government functions and how important your vote is.
U.S. Congressional Delegation
State of Delaware
Extensive information about the Delaware state government can be located online. The website, https://delaware.gov, lists state officials with links for contacting them. Additionally, links are provided for other government officials, agencies, and services. Find your legislators by entering your address into the box provided.
Know Your Legislator is an easy to use tool for finding your legislators and basic information about them. It provides profiles of legislators including sponsored legislation. It is available through Delawareonline, the online homepage of the News Journal.
The Delaware General Assembly website, legis.delaware.gov, provides a legislative calendar, information on bills and legislation, Delaware laws, and committees. Links to State Senators and their districts can be found here, and Representatives here.
The Delaware General Assembly granted Sussex County home rule in the early 1970s, converting the old Levy Court into the current Sussex County Council comprised of five members elected in and for specific geographic districts for four years. This forms the legislative authority of the county, which appoints a "County Administrator" who oversees the executive branch departments.
Information on the government structure, administration, department listings, etc. can be found on the Sussex County website. County council members along with their district maps are listed there as well as the traditional "Row Offices" of Clerk of the Peace, Recorder of Deeds, Register of Wills, and Sheriff who are all elected at large. Appointed boards and commissions are listed, including the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Adjustment which play particularly important roles in administering county land use ordinances.
Sussex County has an audio/visual system for broadcasting meeting events. To watch a broadcast, please click on this link and then select "Watch" from the options on the left in order to view the broadcast in full-screen mode.
Town and city charters determine voter qualifications for municipal elections. Some allow property owners who are not full-time residents to serve on the local council or commission. Most municipal elections are held separately from general elections in the state. To vote in city or town elections you must register with the local jurisdiction. The Directory of Delaware Municipal Officials provides links to websites of 25 incorporated local governments in Sussex County, each with its own local mayor and council or commission. You can find contact information there. To vote in city elections that are placed on the state general election ballot a person must be registered with the state before voting.
School board elections are normally held in May. To vote in school board elections a person must be a citizen and a resident in the school district holding the election and be at least 18 years of age. Advance registration is not necessary. Contact your local school board for more information. A listing of Sussex County public schools with links to the district websites can be found here.