This is our official response to the new Emergency Voter Plan that will be presented today (April 22nd). Please contact your legislators in support of the original bi-partisan plan presented last week. See below for details and please share:
THE EMERGENCY VOTING PLAN:
A STATEMENT FROM THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF LOUISIANA
As a non-partisan organization, the League of Women Voters of LA first wants to commend Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin for his efforts to get The Emergency Voting Plan right the first time. Last week he put forth a proposal that affirmed the COVID-19 pandemic as an emergency in a bi-partisan plan that should be applauded. Although we thought it fell short in certain measures, the Secretary’s initial proposal was a thoughtful response that addressed the very real fears of Louisiana voters who live in a viral hot zone. Anything short of the initial plan increases the threat to the health, safety and economic security of all Louisiana citizens but most especially the voters and election officers who are the front line of our democracy. Unfortunately, it was shot down following dubious debate on a straight party-line vote.
Perhaps Senators who rejected the initial plan last week hadn’t really thought it all the way through. Let’s give them the benefit of a doubt. But since that vote, we know—and they know—that at least seven new COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin are related to the recent election there, including six voters and one poll worker. This disease has taught us that there are likely more cases to come and if statistics hold, sadly some of those voters and election officers will die. The Wisconsin model is the closest example to our situation that we can reference as we decide how to adjust our own election for the COVID age. Is that really the standard we want to set for Louisiana? That just maybe we’ll be luckier than people who live in Milwaukee?
And now the Centers for Disease Control predict a virulent return of the virus this fall in conjunction with the regular seasonal flu. If there was ever a reason to err on the side of caution, this is it.
Citizens across this state have been in self-quarantine for weeks. Folks are ready to go back to work and to be with their friends and families again. Many will be comfortable doing that right away. Others will be more reluctant to take the risk until there is a COVID-19 treatment or a COVID-19 cure. And for some it will take even longer to resume anything like normal life again—even the new normal.
But every voting adult among us has the right to cast his or her ballot. And we should make it easier—not more difficult—for our citizens to do just that, whatever their comfort level as we battle the COVID crisis.
To that end, the League goes on record in opposition to this plan but in support of the original version as submitted to this committee last week by our Governor and our Secretary of State. We encourage legislators to amend this proposal and vote for the original bi-partisan plan because it will mean greater opportunity for Louisiana citizens to participate in our democracy with the least amount of fear and the greatest amount of protection of our state’s health and economic security.
READY TO JOIN?
We are an inclusive community of action and diverse thinkers. Membership starts at $60 per year, opportunities to learn and make an impact are plentiful.