Randall Chase of the Associated Press details an interesting electoral development in the Northeast.

Laws allowing early voting and permanent absentee status violate Delaware’s constitution and are invalid, a judge ruled in a lawsuit brought by a state elections inspector and a Republican lawmaker.

The laws are “inconsistent with our constitution and therefore cannot stand,” Superior Court Judge Mark Conner declared in a ruling late Friday.

Elections inspector Michael Mennella and Senate Minority Leader Gerald Hocker showed by “clear and convincing evidence” that the laws were unconstitutional, the judge said.

Friday’s ruling follows a 2022 state Supreme Court decision that laws allowing universal voting by mail and Election Day registration were unconstitutional. The justices said the vote-by-mail statute impermissibly expanded absentee voting eligibility, while same-day registration conflicted with registration periods spelled out in the constitution.

“The words in our constitution have meaning, and they are given their plain meaning by the courts,” Jane Brady, former Delaware attorney general and former state GOP chair, said in a statement Monday. Brady represented Mennella and Hocker, having earlier joined Georgetown lawyer and current GOP chair Julianne Murray in challenging the vote-by-mail and same-day registration laws.

It is unclear whether state officials will appeal the ruling.

“For five years, this office has fought like hell to protect voting rights. We’re not stopping now,” Democrat Attorney General Kathleen Jennings said in a statement. Jennings plans to hold a news conference Tuesday.

Conner found that a law allowing in-person voting for a least 10 days before an election violated a constitutional provision stating that general elections must be held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November.

“Our constitution provides only one such day, not any day or series of days the General Assembly sees fit,” he wrote.

State attorneys argued that the General Assembly has authority to enact voting laws, but Conner noted that the constitution says those laws must be intended to “secure secrecy and the independence of the voter, preserve the freedom and purity of elections and prevent fraud, corruption and intimidation.”