Absentee voting requirements extended due to coronavirus

Absentee ballot during COVID

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - After being delayed twice, the presidential primary election date in Louisiana is right around the corner on July 11.

Absentee ballots have always been available to seniors over 65 years old, students who have moved for higher education and those who would be temporarily absent amongst the long list of those who qualify.

Due to the coronavirus, the list of people who can request an absentee ballot has been extended in Louisiana to include those who are in quarantine, those who suffer from coronavirus symptoms, have been diagnosed with or are taking care of somebody with the virus.

Calcasieu Parish Registrar of Voters Kim Fontenot said the exception is temporary.

“We have an application just for the two elections, just in July and August,” Fontenot said.

Fontenot said there’s been an increase in those voting by mail.

“We’ve sent out 4000 ballots, we’ve received 2000 ballots so far,” Fontenot said.

In comparison, the last presidential primary in 2016 only saw a little over 300 mail-in ballots.

“We’re in the process right now of doing so many mail ballots, it’s unbelievable,” Fontenot said. “Everybody is unsafe right now, we’re getting a lot of requests.”

Early voting begins June 20.

“We’re recommending for early voting which is going to be 2 weeks this time to wear masks, lots of sanitizers,” Fontenot said. “We do have the coronavirus application that people are taking advantage of. If people aren’t comfortable or they are high risk, we recommend they do go for that application.”

The COVID-19 Absentee Ballot application can be found HERE. The last day to turn it in is on July 10. Election Day is July 11.

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