ACLU of Delaware’s new executive director wants to improve voter rights in the First State. Mike Brickner comes to the First State after leading All Voting is Local’s Ohio office for the past two years.
Brickner said the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging Delaware’s voting process just as it is elsewhere around the country. Gov. John Carney delayed the state’s Presidential Primary to July 2nd and used an executive order to essentially allow anyone to vote absentee by mail.
But Brickner said that doesn’t completely solve the problem.
“Many voters have never used the vote-by-mail system, and it hasn’t been widely used by election officials either,” Brickner said. “And so, there’s going to need to be a lot of preparation going into the election to ensure that elections officials are able to carry out all the administration in practice of vote-by-mail. But, also to make sure voters know how to use the system.”
Prison reform is another priority for Brickner. He applauded the ACLU of Delaware’s previous work to decrease the prison population. But, he believes more needs to be done in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When we look at something like COVID-19 and where we’re having to implement social distancing policies and ensure that prisoners’ health and safety are protected and also that of the staff members who are there. It’s very difficult to do in a system that has too many people in it,” Brickner said.
Brinker hopes to secure early releases for those vulnerable to COVID-19 like the elderly and prisoners with chronic illnesses. He also hopes to push to keep changes to the probation system that have worked during the pandemic.
This is Brickner’s second stint with the ACLU. He previously served as the Ohio affiliate’s Senior Policy Director for 14 years. Brickner replaces Kathleen MacRae, who retired last year after eight years as executive director.