Voter turnout in Delaware likely to break record

Election 2020 was on a record-shattering pace, having already surpassed 2016’s turnout by late afternoon, as Delawareans flocked to the polls to choose America’s next president, the First State’s governor and other national, state and county officials.

Mostly content to stand in long lines, Delawareans turned out early and often Tuesday.

Delaware’s Department of Elections reported that in the past 20 years, the 2004 and 2008 general elections were the highest voter turnouts — 68% for both years.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, 60% of voting-eligible Delawareans had voted, according to Millianie T. Bueno, community relations officer for the Delaware Department of Elections.

“There is a significantly greater turnout at the polls alone between September’s primary and (Tuesday’s) election,” said Ms. Bueno.

Shortly before 7, just over an hour before polls closed, the statewide estimate had jumped to 66%.

In Kent County, 60,638 people had voted in person, and there were 25,934 mail-in/absentee ballots returned.

The Sussex County numbers just before 7 were 81,030 in-person votes and 43,951 ballots returned.

At the 5 p.m. pull, Department of Elections data showed that approximately 448,567 voters had cast their votes statewide, according to Ms. Bueno.

This includes the 165,472 ballots the elections department received back through the vote-by-mail law approved by the General Assembly this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the 2016 election, in which Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to claim the U.S. presidency and John Carney topped Colin Bonini for governor, about 443,000 total votes were cast in Delaware. Of that total, about 5% was via the absentee process.

Approximately 408,000 Delawareans voted in both the 2012 and 2008 general elections.

Ms. Bueno reported no major problems, other than the wait associated with the high numbers.

“Our main problem has been the long lines at the polling places due to the heavy turnout and the need to maintain social distancing in lines,” Ms. Bueno said.