Early voting for midterm elections kicks-off today

Early voting continues until Nov. 1 in Louisiana for the midterm elections.
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 2:46 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Early voting for the midterm elections is now underway in Louisiana and will run through Nov. 1, excluding Sunday, Oct. 30. The polls are open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.

On election day (Nov. 8) polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“Every single thing is counted and your vote is very important,” says Isabelle Butler, the Ouachita Parish Registrar of Voters. “We’ve had elections won by one vote and that could be you.”

There are over 97,000 people currently registered to vote in Ouachita Parish, but that’s just the number of active voters according to the Registrar of Voters Office. They say over 6,000 people in the parish are considered inactive.

“If [mail] comes back saying no longer at this address or whatever the post office puts on it that would make you inactive,” says Butler.

Butler says that means you need to update your address either by filling out a form on election day or by going online and updating your voter information. You can call the Registrar of Voters’ office in your parish to find out if you are considered inactive.

“If you’re inactive at this very moment, you will have to go to your old precinct to vote. It doesn’t matter where you live now. If you lived in West Monroe and now you live in Sterlington, you’re going to have to go to West Monroe to vote because that’s where your name is on the books and the books have already closed,” explains Butler.

She says if you’ve been inactive for two federal general elections, you will need to re-register to vote. So to avoid that happening to you, the office is urging you to update your address if you want to be considered ‘active’.

“We have addresses that they live in Calhoun but they receive their mail through West Monroe so we have no way of knowing that you have to tell us that so if you tell us then we’ll put it in the system to reflect that.”

If you won’t be in town during the early voting period or on election day, you can request an absentee ballot. Butler says they are seeing ballots returned with the affidavit flap torn off, and wants to remind voters not to do that. If it is torn, you’ll need to fix your ballot for it to count.

“It’s perforated, but that’s not for you to tear off it tells you ‘Do not detach here’, so please do not detach the flap,” says Butler. “The flap is torn off on election night before the counting starts but we have to have this to be able to give you the credit for your ballot.”

For those who are disabled or can’t stand up for a long period of time, Butler asks that you let them know because they will get you to the front of the line during early voting and on election day.

In Ouachita Parish, you can vote early at the Registrar of Voters office or at the West Ouachita Senior Center. On election day, check the secretary of state’s website to find your polling place.