Twenty-eight advocacy groups, including the NAACP, Voice of the Experienced and the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice sent a letter to Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin last week asking that he develop a election emergency plan that will allow for maximum voter participation amidst the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
In their letter to Ardoin, the letter writers say, “The Emergency Election Plan in effect for the July and August elections omitted important measures to protect Louisiana voters, and at best offers a baseline of mechanisms that should at minimum remain in effect for the November and December elections.”
The letter writers cite a previous report from Ardoin’s office that 30 percent more votes were cast in the July 2020 election than July 2016. “Still, some voters were left without means of participating with the confidence of safety,” they write, “because the qualifications to vote by mail did not cover all voters at risk of contracting COVID-19 (indeed, all voters). Other voters who would have qualified under the Emergency Election Plan did not become symptomatic in time to request a ballot by the deadline. Many voters never received their ballot, nor were they provided with any remedies to participate other than showing up in person, putting their own health, and the health of their communities, at risk on Election Day.”
The letter writers requested a response from Ardoin’s office by Thursday, but Peter Robins-Brown, communications director for the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice said Sunday night that the secretary of state’s office had not responded to the groups that wrote the letter.
However, Tyler Brey, a spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office provided a written statement to brproud.com: “Our office continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation across the state and explore options for the election in November.” Brey also told the news organization, “The nationwide failure of the Postal Service to handle even a modest increase of absentee mail ballots is a major cause for concern leading into November. An increased reliance on the USPS is inviting the potential for the widespread disenfranchisement of our state’s voters.”
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