Whether you vote early (please do if you’re able) or vote in person this Election Day, you need to go prepared. Did you know that Louisiana has a 3 minute time limit in the voting booth? Me neither. I was shocked in my polling commissioner class a couple of weeks ago when the instructor mentioned it matter of factly. This ballot is a long one, so we need to do our homework and make our decisions before we’re behind the curtain. Don’t freak out. I can help get you started.
First, follow this link to the Secretary of State’s Voter Search. Enter your info, click “Submit” and you’ll be taken to a rather magical voter resource page. Along the top you’ll find your ward/precinct and confirmation that your voter registration is active. If you requested an absentee ballot, there’s a link to check its status. Other links will provide your Election Day voting location and locations for early voting, which starts this Friday, October 16th. But the link I want to highlight here is “My Sample Ballot.”
The candidates and issues on your ballot will depend upon your ward and district. My ballot, for example, has 29 separate items on it, which is why the 3 minute time limit is an issue. In order to submit a complete ballot, I’ll need to prepare before I vote. You will, too, so pull up your sample ballot, print it up if you’d like, and get started.
Where to do your research is of course up to you. I found this guide to the constitutional amendments to be helpful and objective. As for judges and school board elections, the League of Women’s Voters of Louisiana asked the same questions to all candidates for Orleans Parish offices, and most of them responded. It might be tempting to vote for federal elections and punt on the rest of the ballot. Please don’t. Your day-to-day life can be impacted far more by the local candidates and the proposed amendments to our state constitution. We owe it to each other to be informed and involved.
All indications are that voters will turn out in record numbers this year. Finally. While this 3 minute time limit might seem arbitrary, it’s a tool to keep the lines moving and make sure that every voice is heard. Please come prepared and do your part to make this Election Day go as smoothly as possible.