BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – In light of what is expected to be record absentee voting for the upcoming presidential election, the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office is advising voters to request their ballots at least 15 days before the election and return them at least seven days before November 3.
“In the last few days, Parish Registrars of Voters across the state began sending out absentee ballots. This year will see the highest number of absentee ballots ever cast in a Louisiana election,” the Secretary of State’s office said in a statement released late Friday morning.
In fact, at least three times the number of absentee ballots have already been requested in Louisiana compared to mail-in votes counted in 2016.
“To ensure voters have their absentee ballot counted, this instructional video shows step-by-step how to properly fill out and return an absentee ballot,” the statement from the Secretary of State’s office says.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 30 by 4:30 p.m., and the deadline to return an absentee ballot is November 2 by 4:30 p.m.
“As a reminder, to ensure all ballots are received in time to be counted, the United States Postal Service recommends that all absentee ballots be requested 15 days prior to the election and mailed back 7 days prior to the return deadline.”
October 19 will mark fifteen days before the November 3 election. October 27 will be seven days out.
In light of concerns about delays in postal service deliveries, however, election officials have said there is no reason to wait until the last minute allowed by law. Instead, they say anyone who plans on voting by mail should request their ballot and to return it as soon as possible.
The statement released Friday pointed to a page on the Secretary of State’s office website for a list of reasons to apply for an absentee ballot, which includes all of the circumstances that qualify voters to request one under state law.
By statute, those qualifications are normally 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.
However, under a court order issued earlier this month, voters who do not fall into any of those categories are now 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. A downloadable form for the temporary ballot application has been added to the list of those available.