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| Strengthening Voting Rights and Democracy

Dems rally for same-day voter registration

Democrats rallied at Legislative Hall on Tuesday in favor of legislation that would allow Delawareans to register to vote on the same day as a primary or general election.

"We should so everything we can to make sure eligible others have every opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote," said Rep. John Viola, D-Newark, the legislation's sponsor.

Democrats and activists supporting the bill dismissed concerns that same-day registration could lead to voter fraud.

"There's nothing there," Viola said, adding that he feels "confident" the bill will pass the House in the "next couple weeks."

The bill was voted out of committee in May, and would still need to go to the Senate for committee and floor votes if it passes the House. Delaware's current registration deadline is the fourth Saturday prior to an election.

Rep. John Kowalko, a Newark Democrat, told supporters gathered outside Legislative Hall on Tuesday that "you deserve the right to vote" and said the measure only reinforces the constitutional rights of Delawareans. Rep. Paul Baumbach, D-Newark, called the legislation "as American as it gets."

Representatives from several left-leaning advocacy groups attended the rally in support of the legislation on Tuesday, including the Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement and American for Democratic Action.

Same-day registration is already law in 11 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Mike Begatto, executive director of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, the public employees union, also spoke in favor of the bill on Tuesday. Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, a Wilmington Democrat, is sponsoring the measure in the Senate.

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