Sec. of State Ardoin issues statement regarding November and December elections in Louisiana

Louisiana Network

FILE – In this July 20, 2018, file photo, interim Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, R-Baton Rouge, talks to reporters in Baton Rouge, La. On Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, Ardoin, Louisiana’s elections chief, proposed a scaled-back emergency plan for this fall’s elections that would modestly expand early voting amid the coronavirus outbreak, but still require most people to cast their ballots in person in the pandemic. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has issued a statement regarding Louisiana’s November and December elections. This statement comes a week after Gov. John Bel Edwards declined to endorse Sec. Ardoin’s Emergency Election Plan.

According to the statement from Sec. Ardoin’s office, Louisiana will not have the following due to Gov. Edwards decision:

  • Additional three days of early voting
  • Extended polling hours for early voting
  •  Additional time for Registrars to verify and process absentee ballots that will allow more timely reporting of election results
  • An adjusted absentee ballot application deadline that more closely aligns with United States Postal Service (USPS) delivery standards

However, Ardoin’s statement did not explain that Governor Edwards is pushing the Secretary of State to allow more Louisianians to vote — not fewer.

In fact, Edwards released a statement Wednesday (Sept. 2) in which he says the Secretary of State’s election plan “contradicts the guidance of the CDC and medical experts and would require people under quarantine or who are symptomatic and those who are at high risk for serious complications and their caregivers to vote in person.”

The Governor has filed a memorandum in support of a lawsuit filed by civil rights groups against the Secretary of State’s plans to limit mail-in voting.

“The Secretary of State’s plan is just 100 percent wrong,” said Governor Edwards in his statement, adding that “Louisianans should not have to risk their lives to vote.”

Sec. Ardoin outlined five steps that he says will be taken in the coming weeks, which include directing all registrars and clerks to ensure that poll workers at early voting and election day locations adhere to CDC guidelines on mask-wearing, social distancing, cleaning of machines, and making disposable masks available to voters who want one.

He also stated that a state of emergency will be declared that will allow the “Clerk of Court and presiding officer of the parish governing authority” to move polling places from senior centers or other places that create a public safety issue.

The third step that will be taken will have registrars work local nursing home operators in their parishes to designate a staff member as “temporary staff” of the registrar. This will allow the nursing home staff member to receive training to help facilitate voting for nursing home residents where the facility remains in lock-down.

The fourth step will “advise registrars to consider offering” a curbside drop-off point for voters to submit their ballots between the end of early voting and Election Day, while the fifth step would extend the absentee ballot cure process that was implemented during the July and August elections through the end of the year.

Sec. Ardoin added that the Tangipahoa Parish Registrar of Voters has received an Attorney General’s opinion regarding the ability for voters with COVID to request to vote absentee by mail if certain requirements are met, under existing legislative authority.

Click here to read Governor Edward’s memorandum, released Sept. 2.

Sec. Ardoin finished the statement by saying that all of these steps will be taken to “ensure that Louisianans have every opportunity to vote consistent with the existing law.”

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