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City Council backs off demand for additional drop off boxes for absentee ballots

Attorneys for Orleans Parish Registrar Sandra Wilson wrote in court documents that she doesn't have enough employees to staff extra boxes.

NEW ORLEANS — A lawsuit pitting the City Council against the Louisiana Secretary of State softened a bit Wednesday when the attorney for the council said they would pull back on their demand for a preliminary injunction, which would allow additional drop-off boxes for absentee ballots. Those boxes, put out for curbside drop-off, would be staffed by registrar employees at various locations across the city.

But Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, who oversees elections in Louisiana, argued drop-offs can only be done where a registrar has offices. In Orleans Parish, that would be City Hall or the Algiers Courthouse.

The council disagreed with his interpretation of the state’s election law and took him to court.

“The secretary's reading of the law would have limited us to two collection sites,” Adam Swensek, the council’s attorney, said after the brief hearing in court.

A spokesman for Ardoin said he had no comment Wednesday, citing the pending lawsuit.

In court documents, however, Ardoin's attorneys wrote, "The secretary of state ... never said the registrars cannot accept ballots at early voting sites or at nursing homes."

The council's attorney argued that pokes holes in Ardoin's earlier argument.

“We would like the registrar to be able to collect absentee ballots at any time at safe and secure locations throughout the city,” Swensek said.

Attorneys for Orleans Parish Registrar Sandra Wilson wrote in court documents that she doesn't have enough employees to staff extra boxes.

RELATED: Know to Vote: How to correctly complete your absentee mail ballot to have your vote counted

RELATED: City Council will sue La. Secretary of State over limits to absentee ballot drop-off locations

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