Illuminator Podcast: Louisiana’s Coronavirus Election Fight

A conversation with Sen. Sharon Hewitt, the head of the Louisiana Senate committee who oversees elections

Hosted By: Julie O'Donoghue - August 19, 2020


The following is an excerpt from this podcast episode. Host Julie O’Donoghue talked to Louisiana Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, about Louisiana’s fight over voting during the coronavirus pandemic. Hewitt is the head of the Committee on the Senate & Governmental Affairs. 

Julie: Hewitt doesn’t think it’s necessary to allow people to vote absentee if they have a medical condition that puts them at risk with COVID-19.

Hewitt : Folks that are, you know, at higher risk, you know, because of high blood pressure, or diabetes or obesity or some of those things. I think they are learning to understand the risk and I think they are learning to – again with all the social distancing and mask wearing and sanitizing and all that – I think they are learning how they can be in the public and be safe.

We know more about it today than we did back in the day and so I’m not sure that that’s as much of a compelling reason — for me — to get an absentee ballot. I think those folks are out shopping and visiting with family and doing some things and they probably are more comfortable with voting in person now than they were when we first talked about this in April and things were all so new and so scary.

Julie: She also questions whether people who were told to quarantine after coming in close contact with coronavirus wouldn’t be able to leave their house to vote. 

Hewitt: I don’t know if people are quarantining for 14 days or if they’re going home and they’re getting a test as soon as they can because, you know for many people, they want to know if they are positive or not and not just automatically, you know, accept a 14 day quarantine.

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Sen. Sharon Hewitt

Republican, Slidell

Hewitt is a Lake Charles native. The long-time resident of Slidell is a graduate of Barbe High School and holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from LSU. As an engineering executive, Hewitt managed major deepwater assets in the Gulf of Mexico for Shell and earned a reputation as a passionate, committed problem solver. Over the years, she worked to improve education policies and to grow STEM programs in local schools, earning the National PTA Life Achievement Award for her leadership. Hewitt married her husband, Stan, over 30 years ago and they have proudly raised two sons, Chris and Brad.