Baton Rouge, La. – Secretary of State Tom Schedler and Gov. John Bel Edwards have suspended early voting in four parishes beginning at 3 pm today.
These parishes are likely to see the first impacts of Hurricane Nate later this afternoon. Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and Plaquemines Parish voters will need to vote before 3 pm today in order to cast an early ballot. The rest of the state will complete early voting as scheduled, closing at 6 p.m.
Lousiana Legislature requires any suspension of early voting to be approved by both the secretary of state and the governor.
“The safety of the voting public, as well as our early voting commissioners, is extremely important and we want to be sure they have time to get home and secure their homes before the first heavy weather enters the state,” said Secretary Schedler. “The rest of the state will be able to complete early voting as scheduled at 6 pm, and we encourage voters to get out early and early vote!”
Preparations continue to be made by elections officials across the state to protect their early voting and Election Day voting equipment and supplies from any potential storm impact or damage. Since Nate is expected to move through the state quickly, all election activities are anticipated to resume on Monday as the state prepares for the Saturday, Oct. 14 election.
“This storm certainly puts another wrinkle in our ability to predict overall turnout for the 14th,” said Schedler. “Overall, using historical and early voting data, I’m reducing my initial 20 percent turnout prediction because I believe we may struggle to get to 15-20 percent participation statewide. It will take all of the candidates and others encouraging voters to get out and cast a ballot to improve turnout on Election Day for sure.”