Emergency voting proposal clears first hurdle

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BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA/WGMB) — An emergency proposal to expand early and absentee voting amid the coronavirus pandemic won support from Louisiana House and Senate panels Wednesday.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s proposal would apply only to the state’s July 11, 2020 and Aug. 15, 2020 elections. Ardoin, the state’s elections chief, crafted the measure amid concerns that large crowds would further the spread of COVID-19.

The plan would expand the reasons to request an absentee — or mail-in — ballot to registered voters who are affected by COVID-19 and are:

  • At higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to serious underlying medical conditions as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Subject to a medically necessary quarantine or isolation order as a result of COVID-19
  • Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns
  • Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis
  • Caring for an identified individual who is subject to a medically necessary quarantine or isolation order as a result of COVID-19 or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns.

The plan would not apply to the November general elections. Any changes to the fall votes would require separate documents and legislative hearings.

Ardoin’s proposal goes next to the full House and Senate. Members have until 5 p.m. Monday to vote by email or fax.

You can read Secretary Ardoin’s full list of recommendations here.

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