(KTAL/KMSS) – The November 3 general election is now less than two months away and key dates and deadlines in Louisiana for making sure your vote counts are fast approaching.
The deadline to register in person or by mail in Louisiana is 30 days before the election. This year, that date falls on October 5. If mailing in an application, the application or envelope must be postmarked 30 days prior to the first election in which you seek to vote.
You can apply in person to register to vote at any Registrar of Voters Office, as well as at the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles and several other state offices and Armed Forces recruitment offices.
Voters can also register online at geauxvote.com. The deadline for registering to vote online is October 13.
Click here to learn more information when, where, and how to to register to vote in Louisiana.
Other key dates leading up to the election in Louisiana, including extended early voting, were up in the air until Wednesday when U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick ordered the state to extend early voting by three days to ten and to allow the same COVID-19-related excuses to be used in the November elections as it did for the July and August elections.
The ruling came one week after a two-day hearing in a federal lawsuit filed by voting rights advocates and two Louisiana citizens who claimed the limitations of voting absentee by mail without allowances for those at-risk for contracting the coronavirus constituted a burden on their right to vote.
By statute, Louisiana’s standard absentee, mail-in balloting procedure is limited to people 65 or older, members of the military, overseas voters, people who are hospitalized or in nursing facilities, people who are physically disabled, and people who won’t be in their parish for the election.
Now, voters who do not fall into any of those categories will be able to request the same COVID-19 Ballot Application as was offered in the July and August elections for both the upcoming November and December elections.
Those who are at high risk because of underlying medical conditions qualify for a COVID-19 ballot, as well as those subject to a medically necessary quarantine or isolation order, those who have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis, and those caring for someone who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order and have been advised to self-quarantine.
Under the court’s order, early voting for the Presidential General and Open Congressional Primary will be held Friday, Oct. 16 through Tuesday, Oct. 27 (except for Sunday, Oct. 17 and Sunday, Oct. 25), from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.
The deadline to request an absentee by mail ballot remains 4:30 p.m. on October 30. Ballot requests should be sent as far in advance of the election as possible.
Completed ballots from general and disabled voters sent by mail must be received by their parish registrar of voters 4:30 p.m. CST November 2. Ballots from military, overseas, and hospitalized voters must be received by 8 p.m. CST on election day.
The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
What’s on the ballot
In addition to the presidential election, there will be a number of statewide and local items and races on the ballot, including races for U.S. House and Senate seats, as well as for Public Service Commissioner.
Republican Congressman Mike Johnson is facing three challengers in his bid for re-election. They include Republican Ben Gibson and Democrats Brian Kenny Houston and Ryan Trundle. If no candidates top 50 percent, a runoff race will be held on December 10 to determine a winner.
Locally, district attorney races in Caddo and DeSoto parishes are also on the ballot, along with City Marshal in Shreveport and the Shreveport City Council District A seat.
Voters in Benton and Haughton will decide on a mayor, police chief, and district aldermen. Plain Dealing will also vote on a mayor and police chief, as well as a town marshal.
Contested races for chief of police are also on the ballot in Cotton Valley, Cullen, Converse, Fisher, and Pleasant Hill, and for mayor in Logansport and Fisher.
Among the statewide ballot items is an amendment adding language to the Louisiana Constitution stating that “nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” Voters in each of the state’s 64 parishes will also decide in the Nov. 3 election whether to authorize sports wagering in their parish.
See the full list of statewide ballot measures here.