BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33/FOX 44) – More voters plan to cast a ballot by mail for the November election.
JMC Analytics says three times the number of absentee ballots have already been requested in Louisiana compared to mail-in votes counted in 2016.
Analyst John Couvillon says the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office had received about 177,000 requests for mail-in ballots as of Tuesday, and Louisiana voters have six more weeks to request them before the October 30 deadline. A total of 63,016 votes were cast in Louisiana for the 2016 presidential election.
As Couvillion has previously noted, voting by mail in Louisiana “has historically been insubstantial: in 16 major elections between 2008 and 2019, mail ins only once (and even then, just barely) exceeded 5% of the voting electorate – the rest of the time, it comprised 1-3% of the total vote, but that suddenly changed this year when the April Presidential primary and May runoff were twice rescheduled and ultimately held in July and August. And in those two election days, mail in voting surged. Not only did mail in voting surge from 3% to 19% of the total electorate, but it increased again from 19 to 24% in August.”
Couvillon also notes that more people voted by mail in the August runoff than people who showed up to vote in person.
Now that a federal court has ordered the reinstatement of coronavirus pandemic voting plans used in the summer elections to be used in the November election – including allowing absentee voting for those with COVID-19 concerns – voting by mail is expected to be even heavier this fall.
“It has been the surprising comeback kid, as it were, of 2020 because it enables you to vote fairly quickly without having the risk of being in a crowd,” said John Couvillon of JMC Analytics.
He said the coronavirus pandemic is playing a huge role in the increase in absentee ballot requests.
With more mail-in ballots nationwide, the Postmaster General and the Presidents of the four postal unions came together for a video.
“We are fully committed to ensuring that every voter can rely upon the men and women of the United States Postal Service to deliver ballots and other election mail securely, accurately, and on time,” said Fredric V. Rolando, President of the National Association of Letter Carriers.
The postal service is also sending out a mailer with advice about mail-in voting.
Couvillon added, “Part of what’s spurring people to vote early is they want absolutely no risk of their ballot not being counted.”