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Edwards asks judge to widen absentee balloting for elections

Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin proposed an emergency plan with a limited expansion of absentee-by-mail voting for those confirmed to have COVID-19.
Credit: Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. — BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Gov. John Bel Edwards is asking a federal judge to order Louisiana’s elections chief to broaden the use of absentee-by-mail voting for the fall elections because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Democratic governor filed the request Wednesday in an ongoing lawsuit by voting rights advocates seeking to widen mail-in balloting options for the Nov. 3 and Dec. 5 elections. 

Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin proposed an emergency plan with a limited expansion of absentee-by-mail voting for those confirmed to have COVID-19.

Edwards intends to block the plan 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. 

“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" Governor John Bel Edwards. 

That leaves U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick to decide the election operating rules. Dick has scheduled a two-day hearing starting Tuesday.

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