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Live-streamed governor, House debates Tuesday, Wednesday

Delaware's Democrat and Republic candidates square off against each other Tuesday.

 

Debates among candidates for Delaware’s governor and the U.S. House of Representatives are planned for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and will be live-streamed on Delaware Live, Town Square Delaware and Milford Live. Voters can submit questions in advance by completing this form.

The first debate features John Carney, the incumbent Democrat, and Republican challenger Julianne E. Murray.

The second debate features Lisa Blunt Rochester, the incumbent Democrat, and Republican Lee Murphy.

No debate in the U.S. Senate race is planned, because incumbent Democrat Christopher A. Coons has said he is unable to participate in a debate at the University of Delaware with his Republican challenger, Lauren Witzke.

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The debates are a decade-long tradition of UD’s Center for Political Communication and Delaware Public Media.

Ralph Begleiter, the retired founding director of the CPC and a former CNN journalist, will moderate.

Coronavirus guidelines prevent having a studio audience, and other precautions include a screening questionnaire and temperature check. Masks will be required, but once the debate begins, the moderator and candidates will remove their masks. The candidates will stand at podiums 10 feet apart and more than 12 feet from the moderator.

“We’re following all these precautions very carefully to ensure everyone’s safety but still allow the public to see the candidates in a true debate,” said Nancy Karibjanian, director of the CPC.

“It’s not really a debate unless the candidates are face to face, and we feel a responsibility to offer this kind of public forum in Delaware each election year.”

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Featured Government Politics

Ruling: No more time to count mailed ballots

A Chancery Court judge today denied an appeal to extend the deadline for counting mail-in ballots.

Concerns regarding postal delays and votes going uncounted were not frivolous,  Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock ruled, but the threat of disenfranchisement was too speculative at this juncture to warrant relief, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

The case was filed by the League of Women Voters of Delaware, with help from the ACLU, seeking to extend the ballot deadline for mail-in ballots in the Nov. 3 election. The lawsuit raised the concern that the dramatic expansion of mail voting combined with widely reported postal service delays would result in thousands of votes going uncounted because they did not arrive by the current deadline of 8 p.m. on Election Day.

“But that is a matter for the legislature; my role is much more limited. Statutes enjoy a presumption of constitutionality, and I may not invalidate (let alone, as sought here, rewrite) state statutes on ground of unconstitutionality unless that unconstitutionality is clear.”

“The Delaware Constitution guarantees the right to vote in a free and equal election process,” he continued. “The General Assembly set a deadline for mailed ballots that, as of the time the legislation was passed, was sufficient to comply with this mandate.”

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“Principles of judicial modesty, however, require I not interfere with a statute on speculative grounds—particularly so when to do so would change settled law within weeks of the election,” he wrote.

“Voting is our most fundamental right and the ACLU of Delaware will always fight to protect and expand that right,” said Karen Lantz, legal and policy director of the ACLU of Delaware, “We are disappointed in the court’s ruling and will be discussing next steps with our clients, but no matter what happens next, we won’t stop fighting to protect the vote in Delaware.”

“Even the governor has said that Delaware is an in-hand ballot state — that ballots must be in hand by 8 p.m. of election day,” said Jane Brady, chair of the Delaware Republican Party. “I think that’s a very good ruling.”

Leaders of the state Democratic Party were also asked for comment.