Gov. John Bel Edwards filed a memorandum on Sept. 2 in the lawsuit regarding COVID-19 protections for the November presidential election asking the judge to direct Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin to implement the same election plan that was used for the recent elections in July and August. That plan, which was crafted by the Secretary of State and supported by the Governor and a majority of the Louisiana Legislature, offered expanded absentee voting by mail for more Louisianans affected by COVID for the upcoming elections in November and December.
The Governor refused to accept the Secretary of State’s plan for the November election because it directly contradicts the guidance of the CDC and medical experts and would require people under quarantine or who are symptomatic and those who are at high risk for serious complications and their caregivers to vote in person. It also reduces the number of early voting days from what was offered in July and August. States like Kentucky and Alabama have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing much greater access to absentee balloting, but under the Secretary of State’s plan, Louisiana would have gone in the wrong direction.
“Nothing about the Secretary of State’s emergency election plan takes into account the scope of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Louisianans should not have to risk their lives to vote, which is exactly what will happen if tens of thousands of Louisianans with medical conditions that put them at high risk for COVID complications are forced to vote in person in November and December,” Gov. Edwards said. “We owe it to the people of Louisiana to get this emergency election plan right, and the Secretary of State’s plan is just 100 percent wrong.”
“Simply put, Secretary Ardoin’s plan for the November and December elections does not adequately protect the constitutional right to vote. Further, it is contrary to the recommendations of the CDC and public health experts. We can and must do better. I am hopeful that the Court will find a way to order that we implement a safe election plan for the fall elections. At a minimum, this should be the same election plan that we just used for the July and August elections to protect the health and safety of the people of Louisiana,” said Governor Edwards.