During 10 days of early voting, a third of Louisiana’s voters cast ballots

Secretary of State says high early turnout shows ‘enthusiasm and resolve’

By: - October 29, 2020 6:00 am

A streetcar passes a polling station in New Orleans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story included incorrect deadlines for requesting and returning absentee ballots.

About a third of Louisiana’s registered voters cast ballots during the 10 days of early voting for this year’s presidential election, according to statistics provided by the Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s office. Ardoin said the 964,181 votes cast between Oct. 16 and Oct. 27 was a sign of voters’ “enthusiasm and resolve.”

As of Oct. 1, Louisiana counted 3,054,334 registered voters.  The number of early votes cast by Oct. 27 accounts for 32 percent of that total. 

In 2016, 531,555 early ballots were cast in Louisiana. The number of early votes this time is 81 percent higher.

“A pandemic or two hurricanes did not prevent nearly one million Louisianians from exercising their right to vote during early voting,” Ardoin said. “Louisiana voters are energized and eager to make their voices heard in critical elections from the presidency down to local races. It is my strong desire to see 2020 set the record for Louisiana’s highest turnout.”

The Louisiana turnout was 68 percent for the 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and Ardoin is expecting this year’s turnout to be around 70 percent.

 There’s  yet more time for early votes to come in. Most Louisianians who are planning to vote by mail have until 4:30 p.m. Oct. 30 to request a ballot and until Nov. 2 at 4:30 p.m. to return them to the appropriate parish registrar of voters. Exceptions are made 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 day before Election Day and returned to the appropriate registrar of voters by 8 p.m. Election Day.

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Jarvis DeBerry
Jarvis DeBerry

Jarvis DeBerry, former editor of the Louisiana Illuminator, spent 22 years at The Times-Picayune (and later NOLA.com) as a crime and courts reporter, an editorial writer, columnist and deputy opinions editor. He was on the team of Times-Picayune journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service after that team’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly flood that followed. In addition to the shared Pulitzer, DeBerry has won awards from the Louisiana Bar Association for best trial coverage and awards from the New Orleans Press Club, the Louisiana/ Mississippi Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists for his columns. A collection of his Times-Picayune columns, “I Feel to Believe” was published by the University of New Orleans Press in September 2020.

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