Early voting

A line of voters snakes around the Lake Charles Civic Center Exhibition Hall during the first day of early voting for the Nov. 3 election.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin visited the region on Friday, the start of early voting for next month’s elections. Even with the stresses of COVID-19 and two hurricanes, Ardoin implored residents to exercise their right to vote.

 “This has been an unprecedented set of difficult circumstances, but we’ve rallied together to weather the storm,” he said referring to his colleagues across the state tasked with organizing November’s election.

 “A safe, accurate and fair election was our utmost priority and the right of a voter to cast their ballot has remained at the forefront for us,” he said.

 Amidst Hurricanes Laura and Delta, the Secretary of State’s office, local clerks of court and polling authorities have worked to identify damaged polling sites.

Residents assigned to damaged sites have been reassigned to new locations and Calcasieu Parish will now host three “mega sites” for voting at the West Cal Arena and Events Center, Lake Charles Civic Center and the Burton Coliseum.

 Many polling locations have changed throughout both Calcasieu and Cameron parishes. Ardoin said citizens should check https://voterportal.sos.la.gov prior to election day to verify their polling site.

 Accommodations and protocols have been implemented for citizens who may still be displaced due to the storms, Ardoin said. Displaced residents may early vote in person, vote on election day in person or use an absentee ballot.

 “You are still eligible to vote. Just follow the absentee ballot process,” he emphasized.

 When voting in person Ardoin reminded citizens to bring appropriate identification which may include a license, Louisiana special identification, Louisiana wallet app, military identification or other generally recognized picture identification that includes name and signature.

 Citizens without an identification can vote via a voter identification affidavit to be filled out at the polling site, he said.

 The deadline to return every absentee ballot is 4:30 p.m. the day before the election. For those planning to vote in person, Ardoin asked that citizens consider early voting to avoid lines.

 COVID-19 protocols and social distancing recommendations will be in place at all polling sites and may cause lengthy lines, especially at mega-sites, on election day. Visit https://voterportal.sos.la.gov for up to date information regarding Louisiana’s elections.

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