The deadline for candidates to file for statewide election passed last week, marking the beginning of what will likely be an exciting season of primary campaigning and, after that, a swift march to Tuesday, Nov. 2.


The deadline for candidates to file for statewide election passed last week, marking the beginning of what will likely be an exciting season of primary campaigning and, after that, a swift march to Tuesday, Nov. 2.

This is when the Delaware Department of Elections really earns its keep, and its head, Elaine Manlove, is working hardest.

 

Q: What advances in technology has your office implemented to make the elections process run smoother?

A: I am really proud of what we’ve done with technology and security. Since I’ve become commissioner we have implemented the e-signature process in Delaware. Now when people go to [the Division of Motor Vehicles] they sign on a pad, and on that pad they verify their information, certify they are a citizen, choose a party and sign. The entire system is now paperless. It comes to us in real time. It’s been a little over a year now that we’ve been live; it’s been such a success that we’ve had people come to Delaware to see what we did.

We’ll take this same technology to [the Department of Health and Social Services] and following that we’ll go to the Department of Labor.

It saves us an awful lot of paper, it saves us a lot of time and it saves us money.

We’re also working on electronic pollbooks, so instead of going to the polling place and having signature cards, it will be in an [electronic] tablet.

 

Q: Is your office taking any steps to move toward electronic campaign finance reporting?

A: We have some candidates that don’t want it to be different. I think as time moves on it will be better, as we get more and more candidates who are using electronic filing. I don’t want to mandate electronic filing because there are people who don’t want to do it that way. Our mandate is to get the information to the public, but to get it out we have to get it from the candidate. I would love to say everyone is going to file electronically, but I think I would get a lot of pushback on that.

It’s a funding issue also. I can’t put federal money on that project. I just don’t think we’re at the point where I can change it yet. It’s on the wish list.

 

Q: Do you think the political discussions across the country in the last two years will spur more people to get involved in the upcoming election?

A: I think more people seem to be more involved. I’m hoping this phenomena, the Obama connection of younger people getting involved, I think that turned around in the last election and I hope that momentum continues. This will be when we find out if it did or not.

 

Q: Some are saying that minor political parties will play a bigger role in this election. Do you see more activity in minor parties?

A: I can’t say that I’ve seen it. I’m anxious to see how this election goes. I don’t get into the politics of it in my job. You watch TV and you see everyone is unhappy with incumbents, but it seems like it’s the incumbents in other states; they like the incumbents in their state. People talk about voting out everybody that’s in. But they like their guys, it’s the other guy they don’t like. I’m old enough to have heard the furor lots of times and I don’t foresee any dramatic changes. But you never know.

 

Q: Do you think the state could save money and increase efficiency by consolidating elections like those for school board, school referendum and municipal seats?

A: It would be hard to do. We had talked about a referendum on the same ballot as a school board election. I don’t think the candidate running for a school board wants to be on the same ballot as a tax increase. There are so many dynamics that go into that. There are probably ways to save money, but I don’t think dramatic savings.

About Manlove

Age: 62

Hometown: Wilmington

Residence: Ocean View

Family: Husband Wayne; sons Matt, Joe and Mike

Previous employment: Director of the New Castle County Department of Elections

Email Doug Denison at doug.denison@doverpost.com