July 28, 2020
Delaware voters will soon be receiving a Vote by Mail application for the upcoming elections
As the upcoming Primary and General Elections approach, the Department of Elections is reaching out to registered Delaware voters to let them know about the new Vote By Mail (VBM) law.

According to Elections Commissioner Anthony Albence, Delaware voters will soon receive an application to Vote By Mail for the September 15th Primary and November 3rd General Elections. The mailing also includes a postage paid envelope to return the application. A ballot for each election selected will then be mailed to the voter.

In addition, an online application option via iVote ( https://ivote.de.gov ) is now "live." The process to receive an application to Vote By Mail via iVote is similar to applying for an absentee ballot. Click here to apply for a VBM ballot.

The department's correspondence to registered voters also includes information on what to do if the person receiving the application no longer lives at the address. The letter states, "If you have received this mailing for someone who no longer lives at your address, please mark the envelope 'Return to Sender' and leave for your mail carrier to collect. It is important that we receive these items back so that we may update the voter registration list."

Voting by mail is entirely voluntary if a voter does not wish to vote in person at their polling place. Voters may instead choose to vote at their usual polling location on Election Day. Polling places will be open from 7AM-8PM. A list of polling spots for each county is available by clicking here. (Please note that voters may not return their Vote By Mail ballot to their polling place on Election Day. Vote By Mail ballots may be returned in-person to the voter's county Elections office, but must be received at that office by 8PM on Election Day. A secure ballot drop box will be available at each county office.)
The Department of Elections is seeking poll workers for the upcoming Primary and General Elections
The Department of Elections is recruiting election officers (poll workers) for the upcoming State Primary Election (September 15th) and General Election (November 3rd).

This is a great opportunity to serve the community, learn more about the voting process, and enjoy yourself while doing so. A comprehensive training session is provided, and you are paid a stipend for your service. Stipends begin at $190.00 for clerks, and higher stipends are offered for other roles with additional responsibilities. For more information, please click here . To sign up, please complete the Election Officer Application and click the submit button to send your completed form via email.

PLEASE NOTE: High school students ages 16 and 17 may also serve as student poll workers. If you know a student who would like to be a poll worker, please have the student complete the Student Election Officer Application by clicking here . Student poll workers will be assigned as clerks and will earn the full $190.00 clerk stipend.
News from Sussex County: Sussex County buys farmland near Angola, to preserve as open space
Georgetown, Del., July 28, 2020: Sussex County has purchased several acres of land in the Inland Bays watershed to protect it from future development, preserving it as open space for nature and naturalists alike to enjoy in the years to come.

County Administrator Todd F. Lawson announced during the County Council meeting Tuesday, July 28, 2020, that the County has purchased more than 17.5 acres near Angola, wedged between the Sarah’s Run and Chapel Branch waterways just off John J. Williams Highway. The waterways feed into Herring Creek, a tributary of the Inland Bays.
The County purchased the property from the Dickson and Riley families for approximately $970,000, with money coming through realty transfer taxes already collected and budgeted. It is the latest effort by the County government to build the area’s open space inventory, often in partnerships, either through the purchase of development rights or by buying land outright. 

“There is a lot of concern out there about development in Sussex County, and for good reason,” said County Councilman Doug Hudson, whose district includes the parcel. “This shows the County is listening, balancing the rights of property owners to sell or develop their parcels, while recognizing – and doing something about – the public’s desire for more open space.” 

The property sits at a critical place within the watershed, serving as the entry point for water that filters into the Inland Bays. The County sought the assistance of the non-profit Center for the Inland Bays in identifying and recommending parcels that were strategic in their location, and would benefit the waterways most by being protected, Mr. Lawson said. The property will remain in agricultural production for the time being, with any future use to be determined at a later date.
News from the Department of Agriculture: Delawareans report receiving mysterious packages of plant seeds
DOVER, Del. (July 2020) – The Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) received reports over the weekend from several Delawareans who received unsolicited packages of seeds in shipments from China. After sharing information through social media, DDA found that there were more than just a few random shipments and more residents have been impacted.

Based on information provided by constituents, the packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them. All contained some sort of seed packet either alone, with jewelry, or another inexpensive item. It is believed that these shipments are part of a brushing scam where shippers send out low-cost items at their own expense in order to rank higher on e-commerce sites. Brushing helps the seller create a more legitimate appearance to their profiles.

Anyone who has received a package with seeds is asked to report the shipment to the Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance Program (SITC) by calling the Smuggling Hotline at 1-800-877-3835. Recipients are asked to leave everything inside the package to help investigators trace the origin.

The seeds have not been identified but based upon the packages there are multiple plant varieties being shipped illegally. No one should ever plant seeds they did not order because they could be an invasive species. SITC will provide instructions on how to handle the seeds and in the case that they were planted, how the plants should be handled.

The DDA continues to work with USDA and other federal agencies on this situation. Please do not plant the seeds! USDA will be testing the seeds to determine if they could negatively impact agriculture and/or the environment.

Delawareans can bring the packaging, labels, seeds, and any additional items in the shipment to the Delaware Department of Agriculture at 2320 S. DuPont Highway, Dover, DE 19901. If you cannot drop them off, you can mail them to DDA at the same address. Please make sure to include your name, mailing address, phone number, and email so that investigators can reach back out to you if they have further questions.
The Food Bank of Delaware is sponsoring a Drive-Thru Mobile Pantry on Monday (August 3rd) in Georgetown
FREE COVID-19 testing event this week in Sussex County
The Town of Ocean View's Summer Wednesday Movie will be "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" TOMORROW EVENING (July 29th)
To contact Ron: Ronald.Gray@delaware.gov