A federal judge granted expanded use of mail-in ballots for the November election, ruling Wednesday that Louisiana must allow voters to cast ballots by mail if they certify they are quarantining for COVID-19 or at risk because of comorbidities, The News Star reports.
The ruling by U.S. Chief District Judge Shelly Dick of Louisiana’s Middle District Court in Baton Rouge will allow Louisiana’s voters to request absentee ballots for the Nov. 3 general election and Dec. 5 runoff if they personally certify they are COVID-positive, quarantining pending COVID-19 test results, at greater risk because of comorbidities or caring for someone who fits those criteria.
It will also require early voting for the Nov. 3 election to be held on 10 days from Oct. 16 through Oct. 27, excluding Sundays, after prior plans limited early voting to a standard seven-day period.
The judge’s ruling affirms Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ efforts to expand voter mail-in ballot access, while rejecting arguments from state Republican leaders.
Similar mail-in ballot rules were in place during elections in July and August. But an election plan approved in August put more stringent requirements on mail-in voting, which Attorney General Jeff Landry said required voters to get a doctor’s note certifying they were disabled by the virus or comorbidities in order to vote by mail. The ruling means doctor’s notes will not be required. Read the full story.