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Want to vote in Louisiana's November election? Here's how

A voter enters his polling place to vote on Election Day at the Martin Luther King Elementary School in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward on Nov. 8, 2022.
Gerald Herbert
A voter enters his polling place to vote on Election Day at the Martin Luther King Elementary School in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward on Nov. 8, 2022.

Election Day in Louisiana is coming up quickly.

While some statewide races — including governor — were decided in the primaries, several major races, local issues and constitutional amendments will be on the ballot in the general election on Saturday, Nov. 18.

The state has already begun its early in-person voting week — which lasts from Nov. 3 through Nov. 11 — for voters who want to cast their ballots ahead of Election Day.

Whether you’re a new voter, new to the state or have been voting for years but just want a refresher, here’s a basic guide to help you navigate the process.

If you have more questions about voting in Louisiana, try the Secretary of State’s guide, its voter portal and information center at GeauxVote.com or the agency’s guides on several types of voting, from audio voting for visually impaired voters to how to vote from a nursing home.

When is Election Day?

Election Day is on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023.

You can check your registration status and register to vote at the secretary of state’s website and on GeauxVote.com.

How can I find out what’s on my ballot?

During general elections, voters are often asked to consider both statewide and local matters. For statewide races, general elections are a runoff, meaning the two candidates who got the most votes in the primary election end up on the general election ballot. In the general election, the person who brings in the largest share of the vote wins.

Voters are also often asked to consider specific statewide and local matters — like municipal referenda and constitutional amendments, which requires a majority vote to be implemented.

See a sample ballot: The Secretary of State’s website has a tool that allows voters to preview their ballots ahead of Election Day, down to the precinct level. Just select your parish and precinct information, and you’ll see which races and questions will be included on your ballot when you go to vote. | Find your ballot

Who is eligible to vote in Louisiana?

Louisianans must meet several criteria to be eligible to vote in the state:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You must be at least 18 years old on Election Day, but can register if you are at least 17 — and, in certain cases, you can register if you are at least 16 years old.
  • You must live in the parish where you are registering and will be voting.
  • You must register by the deadline for the election you want to vote in.
  • You must not, according to the Secretary of State's office, be “under an order of imprisonment for conviction of a felony or, if under such an order not have been incarcerated pursuant to the order within the last five years and not be under an order of imprisonment related to a felony conviction for election fraud or any other election offense pursuant to La. R.S. 18:1461.2."  
  • You must not have had your voting rights suspended.

When you register, you’ll need your Louisiana driver’s license, special ID card or some other form of identification.
If your registration was suspended after a felony conviction, but you’ve met the eligibility requirements to vote again, you are required to bring to a voter registrar’s office documentation demonstrating you’ve met the requirements when you register.

How can I find out if I'm registered to vote?

You can use the Secretary of State’s voter portal to check your registration status — it’s also the place where you can preview sample ballots and find your polling locations. The easiest way to do that is to visit GeauxVote.com.

Once you register to vote in Louisiana, you’re registered for life — as long as you continue to vote and keep your address updated.

The registration deadlines for the November elections have passed. If you're not registered already, you won't be able to vote this time around.

But the March 23, 2024, presidential preference and municipal primary election is around the corner — andthe deadline to register online for that election isn’t until March 2, 2024.

In general, prospective voters can register online, by mail or in person at a local voter registrar office — or when they renew their driver’s license or receive services at a public assistance office. | More on voter registration in Louisiana

How can I register for the next election?

The voter registration deadlines for the Nov. 18 election have passed — but voters can register ahead of time for the next election, in March 2024.

In that election, voters will be asked to choose the presidential candidates they would prefer to see on the ballot in November 2024, and they’ll also be asked to decide a number of municipal matters.

To register to vote in the municipal and presidential preference election, on March 23, 2024:

  • Register to vote in person or by mail by Feb. 21
  • Register to vote online by March 2

In person: If you’re planning to register in person, you can do so at your respective Registrar of Voters Office. Other places to register in person include any Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles location and Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services offices.

For a full list of places where you can register, click here.

By mail: You can download the Louisiana Voter Registration Application, print it and fill it out if you plan to register by mail.

The application must be hand-delivered or mailed to the appropriate registrar’s office by the registration deadline. As long as your application is postmarked by the due date, the Secretary of State’s office says you’ve made the deadline.

Online: Louisianans can register to vote or update their voter registration online through the voter portal on the Secretary of State’s website — or by visiting geauxvote.com.

How can I find out where I should vote?

On Election Day, voters must cast their ballot at their assigned polling place.

If you have registered to vote, you likely received a voter card in the mail, listing the personal information you included in your registration application, and identifying your assigned polling location.

Sometimes polling places changefrom election to election — so to be sure you head to the right spot, you can double-check the location of your polling place at the Secretary of State’s website. Just enter your address into the voter portal, and you’ll see your polling place, a sample ballot and other useful information.

If you’re planning to vote early: Louisiana offers a weeklong early voting period, when registered voters can cast their ballots at early voting sites across the state. Parishes are operating designated early polling places for early voting from Nov. 3 through Nov. 11. You can vote at any early polling place within the parish where you live. | Find yours here

What do I need to bring to the polling place?

If you registered to vote, you should have received a voter card in the mail, listing the personal information you included in your registration application, and identifying your assigned polling location.

You don’t need to bring the voter card with you when you go to the polls, but you will need to bring some form of photo identification.

(You can get an ID for voting — for free — if you bring your voter registration card to a state Office of Motor Vehicles office and request a Louisiana Special ID. If you can’t find your voter registration card, you can sign on to the Secretary of State’s voter portal to view and print out a copy. )

Here’s what the Secretary of State’s office says qualifies as valid photo ID for voting:

  • a driver's license
  • a Louisiana Special ID
  • LA Wallet digital driver's license
  • a United States military identification card that contains your name and picture
  • some other generally recognized picture ID that contains your name and signature

If you don’t have one of those forms of ID with you, you can still cast a vote by signing a voter affidavit.

What else can I bring to the polling place?

The rules around what you can and cannot bring to the polling place are pretty straightforward.

To make voting smoother, you can print out sample ballots from the Secretary of State’s website to bring in with you — or bring your phone into the voting booth, if you need it for reference.

Voters are also allowed to bring with them accessibility tools, such as a flashlight, if they need to use it to better see the ballot; or personal headphones, if they plan to use the audio voting machine.

You cannot, however, bring into the polling place any pictures, signs or other items that display campaign messages — and you can't wear any campaign-related shirts, buttons or pins.

What should I do if I need help voting at my polling place?

If you need assistance once you get to your polling place, you’re allowed to ask the people who are running the polling place.

You can ask them to explain how to use the voting machine, for instance, before you begin voting.

You can also ask for several types of assistance with voting:

  • Adjusting the height of the voting machine. If you use a wheelchair or prefer to sit while voting, you may ask the poll workers to change the voting machine’s height so it’s more accessible. Any voter is allowed to request this type of assistance.

  • A magnifying glass. Polling places have a magnifier available to help voters better see what’s on their ballot. Anyone is allowed to request to use the magnifier. The Secretary of State’s office also says that Louisiana’s early voting machines also allow voters to adjust the text size on their screens.

  • Braille voting instructions. Polling places are equipped with instructions printed in Braille, for any voter to request.

  • Help filling out and casting your ballot.  A polling place worker, a family member, neighbor, friend or a number of other people are allowed to help you with your ballot. You’re not allowed to get help from people who are active candidates; your employer or employer’s representative; a union agen;, the commissioner in charge of the precinct or others whose roles would prohibit them from helping you. Only voters who have filled out a request for assistance, either before Election Day or when they arrive at the polling place, are eligible to have help with their ballot.

If you’re a voter with a disability and you’ve already filled out a request for assistance when you registered to vote, the people running your precinct will have a record of that request when you sign in at the polling place.
If you didn’t fill out that request when you registered, the Secretary of State’s office says you can complete and sign a voter assistance form at your polling place — or you can bring what the office calls a “proof of disability” with you on Election Day to show to the polling place workers:

  • a doctor’s certificate
  • a current mobility impairment ID card
  • documentation that confirms you receive government disability benefits

The Secretary of State’s office also runs programs to assist voters with disabilities, senior citizens and nursing home residents — and has a comprehensive guide for voters with disabilities, with more information.

What if I'm not available to (or don’t want to) vote on Election Day (Nov. 18)?

Fall weekends in Louisiana are busy. It’s football season — the University of Louisiana, LSU and Tulane are scheduled to play on Election Day this year — and the weather is usually perfect this time of year. Those, and any number of other circumstances, might make it tough for you to get to the polls on Election Day.

Luckily, Louisiana offers several options for voters who can’t make it to the polls on Election Day:

Early voting: You don’t need to state a reason for voting early — any registered voter can opt to cast a ballot early.

Louisiana’s one-week early voting period for the Nov. 18 general election is from Nov. 3 through Nov. 11. Parishes are operating designated early polling places for early voting now. | Find yours here.

You can vote early on any of those days between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., with the exception of Sunday, Nov. 5 and Friday, Nov. 10 — Veterans Day — when the polls will be closed.

One thing to note, if you're planning to participate in the early voting period: The state has set up dozens of early voting locations throughout Louisiana, and you'll have to vote in one of those — which might not be your regular polling place.

You can find out which early voting locations you’ve been assigned to by visiting the Secretary of State’s Voter Portal.

Absentee voting: In Louisiana, voters are required to present a valid reason for requesting to vote absentee — unless they’re overseas or a military voter.

The Secretary of State’s office has a long list of the circumstances that qualify a voter for an absentee ballot, including age (all voters over 65 are eligible), offshore work, student or professor status, clergy status, hospitalization and more. Check the voting website for details.

If you think you qualify for an absentee ballot, you can make the request through the state’s voter portal online, or mail a printed application to your parish’s voter registrar. If you’re approved, you will receive a ballot in the mail, and you’ll be required to fill it out and mail it back before the deadline.

You can find more information on absentee voting on the Secretary of State’s website.

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