Vote now! Or wait till Election Day

Early voting for Louisiana ends today at 7 p.m.

The Smoothie King Center, the arena for the New Orleans Pelicans NBA franchise, was open for early voting before the Nov. 3 election. (Photo by Jarvis DeBerry / Louisiana Illuminator)

With one last day to go of early voting, 62 percent more Louisianians had voted before Election Day this year than voted early during the last presidential election.  State officials counted 531,555 early ballots in 2016. Through Monday, 860, 840 early ballots had been cast, figures from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office show.

Early voting ends today at 7 p.m. Find early voting locations for your parish here.

Though the numbers of people voting are significantly higher, the proportion of votes by party has remained virtually constant.  Democrats have accounted for 45 percent of early votes cast then and now and Republicans around 39 percent in 2016 and 37 percent this year

Ten days of early voting is more than Louisianians typically get.  The three extra days were ordered by a federal judge after a lawsuit that alleged that Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin had not taken the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic into consideration when creating an emergency plan for the state’s November and December elections.

In addition to extending the number of days that Louisiana residents have to early vote, the judge also allowed an expanded use of mail-in ballots.  The secretary of state’s website has published the list of valid reasons to request a mail-in ballot here.

And the various application forms for voters looking to receive an absentee ballot

Absentee ballot applications must be received at the appropriate registrar’s office by 4:30 p.m. Oct. 30 unless those applications are for “military personnel and/or their dependents; U.S. citizens residing outside the U.S.; or voters that are hospitalized.” Those applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. Nov. 2.

The secretary of state’s office has released an instructional video explaining how to complete an absentee ballot.  Watch that video below.