Voter education continues, no changes for Louisiana

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - It's not a big election year in Louisiana, but there's still a big effort to get people signed up to vote. Part of that is getting people comfortable with going to the polls.

But with voting rights legislation ongoing nationwide, the focus turns to whether or not Louisiana could face any voting changes.

Angie Quienalty, Calcasieu Parish Registrar of Voters, said it's important people exercise their right to vote.

"This is a wonderful privilege that we have, we need to protect that privilege," she said.

As testament to that, voting officials have been hosting registration and education events this week throughout the state.

"We're out and about at different locations doing presentations and voting machine demonstrations here in the office," Quienalty said.

And although voter registration and education is going on this week in Calcasieu Parish, voting rights legislation is ongoing throughout the country.

In June, the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which spurred debates on race and equal opportunity. Critics of the ruling call it a regression while proponents argue the law is outdated.

And while several states may see stricter voter I.D. laws in the future, Quienalty said, "Nothing is going to change insofar as protecting the rights of voters."

Because Louisiana already has a law that says you must have a photo I.D. to vote, there are no new proposals – at least not this year. There's also an alternative if you don't have a photo I.D.

"It's a voter identification affidavit form takes minutes for the voter to fill out and confirm that their identity and they will be allowed to vote," explained Quienalty.

But there is one change, although it's only an administrative one.

"If a change is made in a precinct location we had to go to the justice department for approval prior to implementation and sometimes that was very lengthy," Quienalty said.

Voting officials will also be at McNeese State University tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. as they wrap up their registration education week.

For more information on how you can register to vote: www.geauxvote.com.

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