Letter to the Editor: Seaford voter registration to change

Finally and thankfully, there has been a very significant first step in voter registration for the better in Seaford, thanks to the mayor and City Council.

Now, Seaford will move out of the 20th century and into the 21st century by adopting voter registration via the state of Delaware in lieu of the “book,” which has been maintained for decades.

Under the “book” system, the number of registered voters hovered between 700 and 900 for years, before a recent increase to about 1,350 in 2020. Currently, 1,350 registered voters represents about 22% of the approximately 6,090 Seaford residents potentially eligible to vote.

It remains to be seen how much voter registration will actually increase, but using the far-easier state system is likely to produce a substantial increase in voters registered for Seaford’s April 17, 2021, elections. At the very least, the new system will set a base line to improve upon. In a progressive city like Seaford, perhaps registration of about 5,000-plus or 85% of eligible voters is not too ambitious a goal.

While this voter-registration shift is very important, the city of Seaford should also be looking at other meaningful aspects of promoting citizen participation in the municipal elections process.

More specifically, along with an increase in voter registration, it is crucially important to substantially improve voter turnout in our elections. While there are many possible avenues to do this, there are two key, “big play” changes to consider:

• Move municipal elections (except referenda) to the November national and state elections date, when voter turnout is historically much greater than in offseason elections.

• Given the long-term risk of COVID-19 infection during in-person voting, have Seaford promote voting by mail and/or absentee to include a provision of applications/affidavits to all registered voters with post-paid return and a provision of ballots to all registered voters completing the application with post-paid return.

I urge the mayor and City Council to continue considering such important additional changes.

Dan Cannon