Local voting officials say mail-in voting is safe

Local officials say mail-in voting is safe

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - In Louisiana, you must have a reason to be eligible to vote by mail, but either way local voting officials say the process is safe.

If you’re eligible to vote by mail and you’ve requested a mail-in ballot, you’ll receive an envelope that says “official election mail” across the top. Calcasieu Parish Registrar of Voters, Kim Fontenot, explains what all comes in that envelope.

“You will have [a return] envelope [and] instructions that we ask that you read,” she says. “You will have an affidavit [...] on the affidavit, we put [...] your name, your address, [and] your precinct [on there for you].”

On the affidavit you will need to fill out your mother’s maiden name, your signature, and the signature of a witness. You need to fill out your ballot using a blue or blank ink pen or a pencil. Fontenot says you must completely fill in the oval to the right of each selection.

Once you’ve made your selections, you’ll stick your ballot inside the affidavit envelope.

“You’re going to take the seal, peel it off, close it make sure it’s sealed,” she says. “Your affidavit stays attached, do not remove the affidavit and try to put it in the envelope.”

You’ll stick your affidavit in the return envelope and mail it back to the registrar’s office. Fontenot says the affidavit is important because it ensures the vote is secure.

“That’s why we have you sign the affidavit [because]we have to check every signature,” she says. “We have to make sure when you requested the ballot that signature matches the signature on the affidavit.”

Fontenot says the mail-in voting system is safe and the Calcasieu Registrar’s Office has never had any problems or any tampering done to mail-in ballots. For anyone who thinks it’s possible to vote in-person after already voting by mail, Fontenot says it’s just not possible.

“We’ve never had anybody try to go and vote twice because you’re not going to get away with it,”she says. “We’ll get the DA on the phone and verify everything.”

On Election Day, the affidavit is ripped off the mail-in ballot. The affidavit goes one way and your ballot goes another. Fontenot says this is done so no one knows how you voted.

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin addressed mail-in voting in a statement provided to 7News.

The statement reads:

“The nationwide failure of the Postal Service to handle even a modest increase of absentee mail ballots is a major cause for concern leading into November, and an increased reliance on the USPS is inviting the potential for the widespread disenfranchisement of our state’s voters.

Right now our focus is successfully administering the Municipal General elections, for which early voting is currently underway. Election Day for that election is August 15. Our office continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation across the state and explore options for the election in November.”

Copyright 2020 KPLC. All rights reserved.