How to Vote in Louisiana’s 2020 Election: What You Need to Know

Posted on 08/03/20 by Hollie Deese

En Espanol | Louisiana’s early-voting option makes casting a ballot amid the coronavirus pandemic a bit more convenient, but you’ll need to meet specific criteria to cast an absentee ballot from the safety of your home:

  • All voters can vote early, from Oct. 20 to Oct. 27, excluding Sunday, Oct. 25. Check on dates, hours and locations in your parish.
  • Voters who are 65 or older, have a disability, reside in a nursing home or meet other criteria can cast an absentee ballot by mail but must first fill out an application.
A man walks out of an absentee voting station after voting

Here’s what else you need to know:

How do I register to vote?

You can register online, by mail or in person. You'll need a Louisiana driver's license or Louisiana special ID card to register online at the secretary of state's website. If you don't have one of those IDs, you can still complete the form online, then print it out and mail it to your parish registrar of voters.

You can also register in person at any Registrar of Voters office, at state Office of Motor Vehicles locations, WIC and food stamp offices, and other government locations; see the full list on the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website. Those registering in person at a parish registrar of voters office must prove their age, residency and identity with a Louisiana driver’s license, other state-issued ID or other documentation, like a utility bill. The deadline to register in time for the November general election is Oct. 5 by mail or in person and Oct. 13 online.

You can also check and update your registration information on the secretary of state's online voter portal.

How can I get an absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?

If you’re 65 or older, have a disability, are traveling outside your parish on Election Day or meet other criteria, you can request an absentee ballot through Louisiana’s online voter portal (choose the Search by Voter option) or you can print and mail an application to your parish registrar’s office. The deadline for most voters to request an absentee mail-in ballot for the November general election is Oct. 30 at 4:30 p.m.; military, overseas and hospitalized voters have until Nov. 2. You can track the status of your ballot on the voter portal.

When is Election Day? When are polls open?

Tuesday, Nov. 3. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Can I vote before Election Day?

All voters may vote early at their registrar of voters office or at designated locations in their parish from Oct. 20 to 27, excluding Sunday, Oct. 25. Early-voting hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Confirm the dates, hours and locations for your parish with your registrar of voters office.

What form of identification do I need to vote?

You’ll need a driver’s license, a Louisiana Special ID, a U.S. military identification card or some other generally recognized picture identification that contains your name and signature. Here's a full list of acceptable IDs. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to cast a vote by signing a voter affidavit.

What is being done to make polling places safe from the coronavirus?

In primary elections this year, several precautions were taken: Poll workers used personal protective equipment, and they wiped down voting machines. Hand sanitizer was provided to voters. In July, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a statewide mask order for everyone 8 years and older, though parishes with low positivity rates could opt out.

Will I be able to vote in the same place as I always have?

As of now, all polling places are scheduled to be open, but that may change closer to the election. Confirm your voting location on the state voting portal.

What are the key races in my state?

  • U.S. President
  • U.S. Senate: Primary on Nov. 3; runoff on Dec. 5
  • U.S. House: Primary for all six seats on Nov. 3; runoff on Dec. 5

Voting rules and procedures may change before Election Day. We’ll update this story if they do, so bookmark this page and check back.

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AARP is urging older Americans to ask the candidates 5 key questions:

  • Just over half of all older Social Security beneficiaries rely on the program for at least 50 percent of their income. If elected, how will you ensure that current and future Social Security benefits are not cut as part of deficit reduction?
  • Half of the people with traditional Medicare spend at least a sixth of their income on health care. If elected, how will you protect Medicare from benefit cuts, as well as lower health care costs and ensure seniors continue receiving the affordable health care they have earned?
  • COVID-19 has caused death and suffering for too many older Americans who require long-term care. If elected, how will you make sure seniors can access safe and affordable long-term care at home, as well as in facilities like nursing homes and assisted living?

Also of Interest

This story is provided by AARP Louisiana. Visit the AARP Louisiana page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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You can find CDC’s latest coronavirus information at cdc.gov/coronavirus; AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.