By Hollie Deese
Voting safely is the big priority for Louisiana this fall. Unlike the rest of the country, the state has to plan for two elections: the presidential race and a congressional primary on Nov. 3 and a runoff on Dec. 5.
For voters, that means studying options well in advance. Those who are 65 or older or meet other qualifications, such as a disability, can vote absentee and avoid the crowds.
Residents who are worried about lines on Election Day during the pandemic may vote early in their parish, from Oct. 20 to Oct. 27.
Given uncertainties over mail delivery, AARP urges voters to cast their ballots as early as possible, whether by mail or in person.
Because of the coronavirus threat, traditional campaigning will be limited, and that makes it harder to learn about candidates and issues.
AARP Louisiana will get information to members about the major priorities, but first, people need to be confident that their health won’t be risked by voting, said Troy Broussard, the organization’s state advocacy director.
“Some of our voters will vote safely from home with an absentee ballot,” he said. “For those who decide to go the polls, we want to provide them with information to do so in a safe manner.”
For other voters, Broussard added, “being able to vote by mail is important to them.”
Voters can expect some of the health and safety measures they experienced in the July primary. Poll workers will be supplied with personal protective equipment and will regularly sanitize designated areas and wipe down voting machines.
Hand sanitizer will be provided to voters. Social distancing will be practiced, and wearing a mask may also be required.
When Broussard voted in the primary, he found the process sanitary, with just one person allowed in the voting area at a time and even a small covering provided for the tip of the finger, for protection from the touch screen.
On Nov. 3 citizens will cast ballots for president as well as vote for congressional candidates in an open primary. If no one wins a majority for the U.S. Senate race or a U.S. House seat, a two-person runoff will be held Dec. 5.
Protecting Medicare and Social Security remains a priority for older voters, but Broussard worries turnout will be lower this year.
To encourage residents to vote, AARP Louisiana will send mailers on important issues, use social media and host a tele–town hall. Go to aarp.org/la for updates.
Friday, Oct 23, 2020 at 8:00pm Eastern Time
Monday, Oct 26, 2020 at 7:00pm Eastern Time
Online via Zoom
Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020 at 5:30pm Eastern Time
Streaming online via One Day University