Election officials had said that they didn’t know how early voting and mail-in voting might affect the polls Tuesday during Delaware’s primary election.
This is the first year that Delaware has allowed early voting. Mail-in voting was allowed in the 2022 elections because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Workers at several polling places reported that voter turnout was lighter than usual, but other sites — particularly those with high-interest races — found voting a bit busier than normal.
Kevin Snyder of Lincoln and Ed Dwornik of Wilmington wanted to vote in person.
“I don’t really trust the mail-in ballots,” Snyder said. “I don’t think they are secure, so I came out to vote today.”’
Denise Curtis of Lincoln chose to vote by mail.
“I received a ballot in the mail, even though my husband didn’t, so I sent it in for the primary,” she said. “I found it much easier than standing in line to vote for just one or two people. Now, for the General Election? I will go to the polls and I will push those buttons.”
Dwornik, who was voting for Rep. Debra Heffernan, said he wanted to vote in person because he’s “a hands-on guy.”
He believes early voting and mail-in voting are effective ways to vote, but likes the feeling of being in a polling place. He also still uses bank tellers, not ATMs or mobile banking, he said.
“I like the human interaction that comes with this sort of voting,” Dwornik said. “I think that human interaction is really important to democracy, particularly when you have people on the other side of the aisle that you can reach out to and talk with.”
Claire Sleeper, who showed up in person to vote o re-elect State Rep. Eric Morrison, a Democrat, said she voted by mail-in ballot during the pandemic.
She showed up in person Tuesday because she trusts that voting method more, she said.
Voter turnout is usually lighter in primaries than in general elections.
Early voting results
As of 11 a.m. Monday, 4,284 voters had voted in person at an early voting location, including 800 in Kent County, 1,384 in New Castle County and 2,100 in Sussex County, according to Cathleen Hartsky-Carter, community relations officer with the Delaware Department of Elections.
10,151 voters have cast a traditional absentee ballot, including 1,750 in Kent County, 4,442 in New Castle County and 3,959 in Sussex County. Hartsky-Carter said Sussex County still has early voting ballots to scan Tuesday.
1,373 mail-in ballots have been collected so far, including 163 in Kent County, 799 in New Castle County and 411 in Sussex County.
Julian Himver, who lives on Dover Avenue in Wilmington, opts for the in-person vote, too, although he said the machines take a little getting used to.
He said he did get a mail-in ballot but doesn’t trust the system, citing perceived problems with vote-by-mail in 2020.
He’s passionate about voting because he’s afraid the world has become “dystopian.”
“We’re now living in the dystopian future,” Himver said. “I’m out voting today because I don’t like the direction the state is going in supporting women’s rights. I also don’t like how everyone is hiding behind their guns and armed houses.”
In Lincoln, Rita Davis said it didn’t matter how people voted.
“Our country is in crisis today and we need to start making changes,” she said. “The only way to make those changes is to vote. Get out to the polls and vote. If you can’t get to the polls, vote by mail but whatever you do, you need to get out and vote.”
Charles Megginson, Jarek Rutz and Terry Rogers contributed to this report.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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