Election Procedures & Records

This page is maintained by Arden’s Registration Committee, the committee charged with maintaining an accurate list of current voters and conducting elections. Here you will find an explanation of Arden’s election procedures and links to past election results.

For current election news and Registration Committee meetings, please see the Registration Committee Page.

Click here to see our Town Charter on the State of Delaware website.

Who May Vote

All residents who are 18 years of age and whose primary residence is in the Village of Arden are eligible to vote at the Town Meetings, in Referendums, in Trustee Elections and other Arden elections.* Renters may vote. Landlords who are not residents may not vote. There is no requirement that a voter be a citizen of the United States or registered for federal elections.

* Arden’s Act to Reincorporate required a voting age of 21 and a 6-month waiting period for voter eligibility. The voting age was changed to 18 on May 27, 1971 (ch 91, vol 58, Laws of Delaware, formerly H.B. 26). Effective September 26, 2016, in accordance with Delaware and Federal Law, the 6-month waiting period was eliminated. Municipal voter registration in Arden takes only the amount of time needed to add the resident’s information to our resident list.

If you are new to the village, or you are not receiving village notices in your mail, please contact the Registration Committee to be added to the list of residents.
Click here to email the Registration Committee.

Who May Not Vote

Should a question arise concerning “primary residence” to determine voter eligibility, any of the following criteria shall negate that eligibility:
A – Resident establishes voting rights and/or votes in a jurisdiction other than Arden or at an address outside the boundaries of Arden.
B – Resident registers a vehicle from, or receives a driver’s license at, an address outside Arden.
C – Resident files a Federal Income Tax Return from an address outside of Arden.
D – Resident files a Delaware Income Tax Return from an address outside of Arden or files as a non-resident of Delaware.
E – Resident establishes a permanent primary address outside the boundaries of Arden.

Arden’s Three Main Elections

  • Committee members and officers are elected at the March town meeting.
  • Assessors are elected and the town budget is approved or disapproved in a mailed referendum in November.
  • Trustees are elected for life through specially held referendums to fill vacancies.

Election of Committee Members & Officers

Committee members serve 2-year terms, and each year half of the committee is up for re-election; most committees elect 3 members in odd-numbered years and 2 members in even-numbered years. For each position up for election, there must be at least 2 nominees. For example, if a committee has 2 members up for election, they must have a minimum of 4 nominees.

Town officers serve one-year terms, except for the treasurer, who has a 2-year term (elected in even-numbered years). There is no requirement to have more than one nominee for any town officer position.

Click here for the current list of Committee Members & Officers.

Click here to learn about the job of each committee and officer.

NOMINATIONS for committees are announced at the January Town Meeting, and additional nominations may be made from the floor at that time. In February, a list of nominations will be posted on arden.delaware.gov. Individuals wishing to be included in (or removed from) the list of nominees may contact the Chair of the Advisory Committee. Nominations remain open until the March Advisory Meeting. A sample ballot is then prepared by the Registration Committee and posted on the Registration Page of the Village website and on town bulletin boards.

THE ELECTION, by secret ballot, takes place at the March meeting. Ballots are passed out at the start of the meeting, but voting can be done at any time during the meeting. If you cannot attend the entire meeting, you are welcome to come and vote, then leave when you need to, or arrive late to vote. Ballots are counted publicly at the Buzz Ware Village Center, usually the following evening, and results are posted on town bulletin boards and on this website.

A SAMPLE BALLOT is posted at least one week prior to the March Town Meeting. The sample ballot is for information purposes only. You may not use it to vote, although you may mark a copy, bring it to the election, and use it as a reference. The actual ballots are distributed at the start of the Town Meeting and are available throughout the meeting. Those who cannot attend the meeting can request an absentee ballot by submitting an Affidavit (see below).

Absentee Voting in the election of committees & officers

Standing committees and Town Officers for the Village of Arden are elected at the March Town Meeting. The election is conducted by secret ballot. All residents who are 18 years of age and whose primary residence is in the Village of Arden are eligible to vote in the March election of committees and officers. Beginning in March 2012, absentee voting has been available for all residents of Arden who cannot vote in person for the following reasons:

  • the resident’s business or occupation prevents him or her from voting at the Town Meeting. “Occupation” shall include care of a family member.
  • the resident will be out of town on election day. This includes military service, college, or vacation as examples.
  • the tenets or teachings of the resident’s religion prevent participation in the election.
  • the resident has a physical disability – either temporary or permanent – which prevents the resident from voting at the Town Meeting.

To obtain an absentee ballot, you must first apply for one by sending an Affidavit for Absentee Ballot to the Registration Committee. You can download the Affidavit for Absentee Ballot by clicking the link below or by contacting any member of the Registration Committee. Affidavits may be submitted any time after Jan 15 until 1 week before the election. Instructions and the deadline for submitting the Affidavit are included on the Affidavit itself. As soon as the ballot is printed (usually the first week in March), you will receive it and must return it either by mail or in person to the town office by 6 p.m. on the day of the election.

Absentee Voting Links

Affidavit for Absentee Ballot  Click this link to download the Affidavit to request an Absentee Ballot for the March 27, 2017, election of committees and officers. You will not be downloading the actual ballot, just the form to request a ballot when it is available.

Background: Absentee Voting in Arden Committee & Officer Elections

The Act to Reincorporate specifies that the Town Meeting elects committees in March. Until March 2011 the Registration Committees interpreted this to mean that all balloting must take place at the meeting and there could be no absentee balloting. This is consistent with the practice of many other town meeting governments in the United States.

In 2009 there was a concerted effort to introduce absentee balloting for the March elections (with or without an amendment to our Act to Reincorporate) and, during many open debates, the Town Meeting re-considered the issue. The Registration Committee also found that some town meeting governments do, in fact, allow absentee voting in certain circumstances. The most common requirement is that the absentee voting is only allowed for an election conducted by secret ballot (rather than by a floor vote) such as the passage of a motion. Since our election of committees and officers is by secret ballot, and following the precedent of other town meeting governments, the Registration Committee – after its initial adamant resistance – was convinced that absentee balloting could be allowed for our March elections, and still comply with the Act to Reincorporate.

In March 2011, the Town Meeting passed a motion instructing the Registration Committee to establish a procedure for absentee voting to be implemented by March 2012. The full text of that motion can be found here in PDF format.

Nominate someone! Serve on a committee!

If you are interested in learning more about what the committees do, please see “Arden: Here’s How It Works.” Committee work involves a wide variety of interests, skills, and time. Some committees are busy throughout the year, some complete a task or two that are vital to the community, but not too time-consuming. All residents are encouraged to help with the work of keeping our town running by serving on a committee. There is plenty of work to be done: you can contribute to our quality of life in Arden by running for a committee. Newcomers DO get elected and incumbents welcome the opportunity to “pass the baton.” You can nominate yourself, and committee chairs would be grateful if you would.

After learning about the committees, if there is one that interests you, contact the chair of the committee (see the current Committee listor contact the Registration Committee.

Budget Referendum & Assessors Election

The Registration Committee conducts two elections following the September Town Meeting: the Budget Referendum and the election of the Board of Assessors. The committee updates the list of eligible voters continually throughout the year, but holds an annual meeting to review the list meticulously before the fall elections.

Budget Referendum

Section 8 of the Act to Reincorporate defines the Budget Committee and its job: to prepare an annual budget governing the expenditure of all Village funds. The committee presents the budget at the September Town Meeting. The Assembly may modify or amend this budget before approving it. The budget is then “submitted to a general referendum of the residents of the Village.” The general referendum is a mailed ballot to all “residents,” meaning eligible voters. The referendum must be conducted within 45 days of the September Town Meeting. The budget must be approved by a majority of the residents — this means a majority of everyone who can vote, not a majority of everyone who does vote.

If voter participation is less than 50 percent, the budget cannot pass. That is why the Registration Committee works hard to get out the vote. The committee sets a target participation of at least 60 percent to ensure that most of the budget passes every year. Residents may disapprove individual items on the budget. So, even with a high participation, there are times when items are disapproved. When the referendum is completed and the results have been posted, we can be confident that all residents have been informed about how their money is being spent and the majority have approved the expenditures.

Election of the Board of Assessors

Seven residents are elected each year to serve on the Board of Assessors. Ballots are mailed and are counted at the same time as the Budget Referendum.*

The Board of Assessors election is conducted using the Hare Method of Proportional Representation, also called “single transferable vote” (STV). Voters mark their ballots according to their preferences for electing the candidates: the top-choice is numbered 1, the next choice is marked with a number 2, etc. A formula is used to determine the number of #1 votes a candidate must receive in order to be elected. When a candidate receives that number of votes, he or she is declared elected, and any excess votes are transferred to the #2 choice on those ballots. This voting method was developed for the election of boards, congresses, etc. It is meant to ensure that an organized minority can have representation. Arden is NOT the only one weird place that uses it. It is in use for major elections in Australia, Israel, the Cambridge, Ma. city council, to name just a few. “Ranked-Choice Voting” is another example of this type of election. Here is an easy-to-understand explanation of the Hare System as teacher Jamie Hedges explains the difference between the Plurality method (simple majority) and the Hare System. Click here.

Counting votes using the Hare System is interesting. Residents are invited (and needed) to participate in the vote count each year, usually in early November.

* The timelines for these two elections are defined in the Act to Reincorporate. They are not identical, and they are confusing. The following timetable satisfies the requirements of both elections: (1) ballots are mailed so voters have at least 15 days to return them and (2) the vote count happens within 45 days of the September Town Meeting.

Trustee Confirmation

Arden has three trustees who administer the Deed of Trust. When a vacancy occurs, the remaining two trustees nominate a new trustee, usually after seeking comment from the residents. The nominee is then approved or disapproved in a referendum of all eligible voters. A nominee must receive over 50% approval of all eligible voters. Once confirmed, trustees serve for as long as they are willing and able.

Election Results Archive

Links to our most recent election results are below. Results of all elections are stored at the Village Office at the Buzz Ware Village Center and can be accessed during regular office hours, or by contacting the Registration Committee.

Election Results, March 2017 in PDF format  Officers & Committee Members
Election Results, November 2016 in PDF format
 
Assessors & Budget Summary
Budget Referendum Results, November 2016 in PDF format  Budget Details
Election Results, March 2016 in PDF format  Officers & Committee Members
Election Results, November 2015 in PDF format
 Assessors & Budget

Election Results, March 2015 in PDF format  Officers & Committee Members
Election Results, November 2014 in PDF format  Assessors & Budget 
Election Results, March 2014 Officers & Committee Members
Election Results, November 2013  Assessors & Budget
Election Results, March 2013  Officers & Committee Members
Election Results, February 12, 2013  Trustee Confirmation Referendum

Questions?

Click here to email the Registration Committee.
2017-18 Registration Committee: Cecilia Vore (chair), Barbara Henry, Elaine Hickey, Barbara Macklem, Jan Westerhouse.