THIS WEEK: Federal judge likely to rule on emergency mail-in voting plan

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA/WGMB) — Pending the impact of a projected hurricane, a federal judge could deliver a ruling this week likely to affect how Louisianians vote this fall.

At issue is an emergency election plan, specifically whether the one Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin proposed for the Nov. 3 election would protect voters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both sides made their cases last week. Plaintiffs against Ardoin’s plan want the state to let more people vote by mail, instead of at public polling sites. Defendants in the state’s election office contended that widespread absentee voting would delay the vote-counting process.

“The milk jug is full,” state election commissioner Hadskey testified Wednesday. “Our current state is not able to process that mass volume and do it accurately and efficiently.”

The tentative fall plan only expands absentee voting to voters who test positive for COVID-19 between early voting and Election Day.

The summer guidelines were more broad. They extended to voters with COVID-19 symptoms, those self-isolating or quarantining, and those with predetermined health risks.

Ardoin maintains polling officials will keep their sites clean and socially distant, with masks available to those without their own. The state would also add a few days to early voting, to alleviate crowd sizes at polling spots.

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