House committee votes to approve emergency election plan; passes in 8-6 vote
BATON ROUGE- After five hours of debate over Louisiana emergency election plans, House and Governmental Affairs voted to approve the plan in an 8-6 vote.
These plans would modestly expand early voting amid the coronavirus outbreak, but still require most people to cast their ballots in person in the pandemic.
All Republicsns, except for Louisiana State Representative for District 65 Barry Ivey voted in favor of the plan. All Democrats opposed. Chairman Stephen Dwight did not vote.
The plan will now move to the full House.
Governor John Bel Edwards has expressed his disapproval, saying it is inadequate for those who want a mail-in option.
The 2020 presidential election takes place in just 78 days.
The blurred plans of the political process are now becoming more in focus as we inch closer to the day.
"It's going to be safe, it's going to be a fair election, and it's going to be accurate," Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said.
Ardoin is proposing an emergency plan for this fall's elections.
This plan scales back absentee mail-in options that were available this summer. Most people will still be required to vote in person. Governor Edwards, however, wants mail-in options expanded.
"I do not support his plan. I don't believe that it accommodates all the voters that should be accommodated in this public health emergency. For example, there are no exemptions for people who are high risk of getting COVID, or the people in their households caring for them," Edwards said.
In his 50 page proposal, Ardoin mentions concerns with the U.S. Postal Service. He fears the agency won't be able to handle a potential surge of mail ballots this November.
"My concern is the postal service being able to deliver absentee ballot requests on time as well as absentee ballots. We are going to move the deadline to request an absentee ballot up ten days," Ardoin said.
The fall election emergency plan also expands the early voting period.
"We're expanding the number of days for early voting from seven to ten days. The hours will be from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and we'll have the longest election day in the country from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.," Ardoin explained.
Ardoin's priority under this plan, he says is to make sure voters and their families, have a safe and healthy trip to the polls this fall.
Governor Edwards is calling for an alternate proposal. If no agreement comes from the proposal, he expects the entire issue will be decided in court.
The secretary of state responded to the Governor's disapproval of the proposed emergency election plan Tuesday evening.
Ardoin issued the following statement:
"I will not be altering the plan I submitted. The plan the governor prefers was developed under a stay-at-home-order; our state is currently in phase two. I negotiated the best possible plan that could pass the legislative committees, and if this issue must be resolved in the courts, I hope any ruling would include the critical mechanisms our office needs to administer the election."
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