In an on again off again case, a Delaware judge has halted a ruling he issued last week in which he ruled a “vote-by-mail law is unconstitutional,” according to The Conservative Brief.
Last week Judge Cook ruled SB 320 unconstitutional, thus prohibiting most voters from mailing in ballots in the upcoming November election.
However, that ruling was reversed on Monday. Delaware Online reported:
“Vice Chancellor Nathan Cook granted a motion by the Department of Elections and Election Commissioner Anthony Albence to stay his ruling pending an expedited appeal to the state Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on Oct. 5.”
The outlet added that “Cook said his stay would allow elections officials to process mail-in voting applications and prepare ballots, but that they are not allowed to send the ballots to voters.”
RTM previously reported that “about 21 percent of votes cast in the Democratic state auditor primary were either absentee or mail-in ballots, according to a WDEL report.”
Last week, Vice Chancellor Nathan Cook wrote in his opinion that allowing mail-in voting in the Nov. 8 general election “will result in the dilution of constitutional votes with unconstitutional votes.”
Cook’s injunction blocked the Department of Elections from accepting applications for no-excuse absentee ballots.
“…if I were to not enjoin the Vote-by-Mail Statute, then the courts would be faced with the impossible task of ‘unscrambling the eggs’ of an election undermined by unconstitutional votes,” “Given these considerations, Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable injury if the Vote-by-Mail Statute is not enjoined and doing so is necessary in the interests of justice.”
“Furthermore,” Cook continued, “the fact that votes will be cast under this unconstitutional law means that the election will not be conducted in strict accordance with our Constitution. As Plaintiffs note, it would be ‘virtually impossible’ to unwind the election.”
Cook argued: “Delaware precedent — at least as it stands today — requires me to issue an injunction.”
Delaware Live reported that Cook acknowledged “Delaware has a strong policy in favor of its citizens robustly exercising their right to vote.”
Delaware Republican Party chairwoman Jane Brady and Republican candidate for attorney general Julianne Murray celebrated the ruling. Brady called the ruling a “victory for the law.”
“To change the provisions in our State Constitution requires that the same new law be passed by the General Assembly over two consecutive legislative sessions with a supermajority,” Brady said. “When the Democrats could not get the votes to do that, they attempted to change the law by passing a statute in the General Assembly in one session with a simple majority.”
Brady added: “This is the first step to protect Delaware elections from laws that may undermine our confidence in election results and threaten to introduce greater opportunities for fraud into our elections.”
Murray said: “I am delighted with the decision. The Vice-Chancellor took great care in reviewing Delaware’s history as well as Delaware’s case law in coming to his conclusion. I obviously thought that the statute was unconstitutional but to have the Court agree is very validating.”
Murray added: “Well it has now been sorted out.”
Little did she know that within a week, the ruling would be reversed.
Cook issued his Monday decision after reviewing briefs from attorneys representing both sides and holding a teleconference. The issue is expected to be elevated to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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