Delaware’s Pre-registration Rates Lag Behind Many States
In September of 2010, Delaware became the 8th state to encourage youth civic engagement upon signing House Bill 381, which enables 16-year olds to pre-register to vote when they apply for their driver’s licenses at the Department of Motor Vehicle. According to The Civics Center’s new analysis, as of July 2019, only 11% of 16- and 17-year-olds in Delaware are pre-registered to vote.
In the 2016 Election Performance Index (EPI), Delaware ranked third nationally given its voter registration rate of 86.99% which slightly surpassed the National Average of 84.18%. Through technology like the iVoter voter portal--which enables Delaware residents to register to vote, view their sample ballot, and request an absentee ballot--and the Delaware Governor’s efforts to garner support for his series of Common Sense Voting Reforms, the state has demonstrated its commitment to increasing the accessibility and efficiency of election services. Despite Delaware’s high voter registration rate and efforts to continuously increase the accessibility of voting, this progress is yet to be reflected in the numbers concerning youth pre-registration.
In New Castle County, which contains Delaware’s largest population of 16 and 17-year-olds in the state, only about 7% were pre-registered to vote. In contrast, Kent County had the lowest population of 16- and 17-year olds, but the largest estimated pre-registration rate at 32%.
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