Edwards against Sec. of State’s plan to roll back mail-in voting for November election

Louisiana

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s emergency election plan for the November election, released Monday, scales back mail-in voting allowances significantly.

BATON ROUGE, La. (WWL-TV)— Gov. John Bel Edwards says a plan laid out by the Louisiana secretary of state rolling back absentee voting ahead of the November election is inadequate based on where the state is in its coronavirus-fighting efforts. 

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s emergency election plan for the November election, released Monday, scales back mail-in voting allowances significantly from what was allowed during the recent summer elections. 

It offers no expansion of absentee voting for people with conditions that make them vulnerable to coronavirus or people who are in self-quarantine because of virus exposure. 

It also cuts the early voting period from 13 days to 10. Louisiana’s early voting period has traditionally been one week. 

Those requesting an absentee ballot under his emergency plan need to meet one of these criteria: 

  • Voters over 65
  • Members of the military 
  • Overseas voters
  • Voters currently hospitalized
  • People who won’t be in their parish for the election
  • Anybody who tests positive for COVID-19 during the early-voting period

Voting rights advocates have already filed a federal lawsuit against Ardoin, Edwards and other government officials, saying the state isn’t doing enough to protect ballot access during the pandemic. 

In a press conference Tuesday, Edwards said he expects any accommodations for voters to come from the courts. 

“I do not support his plan,” the governor said. “I do not believe it accommodates all the voters that should be accommodated in this public health emergency.”

Edwards and Ardoin have had their differences before, but came together earlier in the year as coronavirus numbers began ramping up to expand mail-in voting during the summer elections. Edwards said the secretary of state came to him with the new plan ahead of its public release and was met with disapproval.

“I don’t believe that plan goes far enough. It doesn’t take into account the seriousness of this pandemic,” Edwards said. “I’m not sure why the secretary of state moved away from the approach that he previously took.”

As of Tuesday, more than 139,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in Louisiana. At least 4,431 people have died from complications of the virus. 

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