Did you know that over 50 polling locations across Louisiana changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic? The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc in our world, redefining how people around the world eat, play, and work. It has also shaped the way that we VOTE and show up in the political process around us. From voters spending countless hours waiting to vote at polling locations to polling locations moved in accordance with CDC Voting Guidance and Louisiana’s Secretary of State’s Emergency Election Plan. Modern day voting in the age of COVID-19 has been confusing and oftentimes difficult to follow.
As the country has shifted its eyes on the upcoming fall elections November 3, 2020 (Presidential General and Open Congressional Primary Election) and the December 5, 2020 (Congressional and Open General Election), state leaders have debated the best way to adapt due to the pandemic.
Regardless, you should feel equipped with what you need to know for the upcoming elections.
Below you will find a helpful update on what you should know before voting!
- Limited and Changing Poll Locations: If you are unsure where you should vote for the upcoming November 3rd and December 5th election, visit this list of changed polling locations on the Secretary of State’s website here. Parishes with polling location changes include Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Catahoula, Jefferson, Madison, Natchitoches, Orleans, Ouachita, St. James, St. Mary, St. Tammany and Washington. If your Parish is not listed here then you can locate your polling location information on your voter identification card for a quick view. To confirm contact your local parish Registrar of Voters with information here. The Registrar for East Baton Rouge is Steve Raborn and can be contacted at (email@example.com) or (225) 389-3940.
- Mail-In Voting:There is much conversation amongst state legislators around Secretary of State Ardoin’s election plan and how he intends to handle the upcoming election in the midst of the pandemic. Louisiana may risk being one of the few states that do not have any protocols in place to provide assistance for voters who require an absentee ballot and test positive for the coronavirus. If there is no plan then absentee ballots would not be able to be dropped off at curbside boxes and election results would be delayed according to Sam Karlin’s article from the Advocate. The best way to balance your safety and ensure your vote is by voting in person and voting early!
- Get a Plan for In Person and Early Voting:The best way to ensure your vote is counted is to create a plan for early voting. The Secretary of State’s office reminds voters on election day to remember to bring an ID with them to vote (Louisiana driver’s license, Louisiana Special ID card, a generally recognized picture identification card with name and signature such as a passport or a digital license via LA Wallet). Voters can find their polling location, sample ballot, text alerts, election results in real-time by downloading the GeauxVote Mobile App here. Dates you should be aware of as you create your early voting plan is as follows:
○ Early voting for the November 3, 2020 Election is Oct. 20-27 (excluding Sunday, Oct. 25) from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
○ Early voting for the December 5, 2020 Election is Nov. 20-28 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (excluding Sunday, Nov. 22, Thursday, Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving) and Friday, Nov. 27 (Acadian Day).
In the words of the late civil rights leader and hero, Congressman John Lewis, “A democracy cannot thrive where power remains unchecked and justice is reserved for a select few.” We have to ‘check’ our democracy and we do this by voting!
For more information, contact the secretary of state’s Elections Division at 800-883-2805 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Louisiana native, Rachel C. Oatis is a youth advocate and nonprofit professional. She has a B.A. in Political Science from Spelman College and a M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University.