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Constitution of Delaware


Legislative hall of Delaware
Legislative hall of Delaware

The present constitution of Delaware, which was adopted in 1897, has been amended many times. It is the fourth constitution in the history of the state. The first constitution, adopted in 1776, created “The Delaware State” with a president as chief executive. It was replaced in 1792 by a constitution that established the basic form of the present state government. The third constitution, adopted in 1831, made a number of changes in the judiciary. In each case the constitution was written by a constitutional convention and put into effect without being submitted to a popular vote. In order to become law, a proposed amendment must receive a two-thirds vote of approval from each house of the state legislature in two successive sessions, with an election intervening.

Executive power


The chief executive of the state is the governor, who is elected for a term of four years and may serve only two terms. Other executive officers are the lieutenant governor, attorney general, insurance commissioner, auditor of accounts, and treasurer, who are elected to serve four-year terms. The governor appoints the secretary of state, various commissioners and judges, and some of the administrative officers. The governor has the power to veto proposed legislation. A three-fifths majority vote in each house of the state legislature is required to override the governor’s veto.

Legislative power


The state legislature, called the General Assembly, meets annually at Dover. It consists of a Senate and a House of Representatives.

The senate has 21 members, who are elected for four-year terms, and the house of representatives has 41 members, who are elected for two-year terms.

The state judicial system


The state judicial system includes a supreme court, a superior court, and a court of chancery. The supreme court is made up of a chief justice and four associate justices. The justices and all state judges are appointed by the governor, with the consent of the senate, for 12-year terms. Lower courts include a court of common pleas in each county in the state, as well as family courts, municipal courts, and magistrates’ courts.

Delaware is divided into three counties: New Castle, Kent, and Sussex. New Castle County is administered by an elected council headed by an elected president. Sussex County is administered by an elected council, with one council member serving as president. Kent County is administered by an elected board of commissioners called the levy court. The counties are subdivided into hundreds, which are old English political subdivisions with no government of their own and little significance. Most of the cities and towns in Delaware, including Wilmington, have the mayor and council form of municipal government. Some are governed by a council and manager. Delaware elects one representative and two senators to the Congress of the United States. In presidential elections the state has three electoral votes. "Delaware" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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