Early voting for Dec. 5 runoff election ends Saturday

Polls closed today for Acadian Day

In advance of the Nov. 3 election, voters line up on the first Saturday afternoon of early voting at the Louisiana State Archives. (Photo by Julie O'Donoghue / Louisiana Illuminator)

Saturday is the last day that Louisiana residents can vote early for the Dec. 5 runoff elections.  The polls open at 8:30 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. State offices and all early voting locations are closed Friday in observance of Acadian Day, which celebrates the arrival in Louisiana of the Acadian people from the French colony of Acadia in modern-day Canada.

The Dec. 5 ballot includes multiple runoff elections and a single constitutional amendment, but it is much shorter than the Nov. 3 ballot, and doesn’t include races for for president or U.S. Senate.

Before the last day of early voting began for last month’s election, 860,840 Louisianians had voted early.  As of Friday morning, with one day of early voting left, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s office published figures showing that 94,047 people had voted early.  That’s 11 percent of the number that had voted early at the same point for the Nov. 3 election.  For that Nov. 3 election, 175,000 people had cast ballots by the end of the first day of early voting.

The Dec. 5 election is being held according to the same rules that governed last month’s presidential election.  There has been an extended period to vote early and voters at a higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19 can request an absentee ballot because of their higher risk.

During last month’s election, a total of 3,490 voters used a mail-in ballot that had been requested for a COVID-related reason.

Voters have until 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1, to request an absentee ballot by mail from their local Registrar of Voters Office or request a ballot online through the secretary of state’s  Voter Portal. In order for those votes to be counted, registrars must receive completed ballots by 4:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4.

Exceptions are made for military voters and those living overseas.  Such voters can request a ballot by 4:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 and must return them by 8 p.m. on the day of the election.

The secretary of state’s office has published a video demonstrating how mail-in ballots are to be completed.  It can be viewed below.