The upcoming November election has so much riding on it. One of the biggest threats to our Democracy is voter suppression. We can win this fight, but we must be prepared. Here are five ways to combat voter suppression and head to the polls ready to use the power of your vote.
Here are five ways to protect our voting power this election:
1. Vote early
Voter turnout this election season has already broken record numbers. Thanks to the hard work of advocates, both early voting and vote-by-mail were expanded so that the polls would be less crowded on election day. Avoid long lines and other potential election-day nightmares by casting your ballot by mail or in-person before Nov. 3!
If you are voting by mail, we strongly suggest that you request your ballot and send it back as soon as you can, keeping in mind that Oct. 30 is the official deadline.
In-person early voting is from Oct. 16-27, except Sundays, from 8am-7pm.
Your early voting location is different from your election-day location, so you can check your early voting polling place here.
2. Register to vote, and check your registration status OFTEN - We’ve met a lot of people this season who THINK they’re registered but are not. There are many reasons why this might include you - one reason being that the Secretary of State purged “inactive” voters from the list this summer. But there’s still time to fix it! The deadline is fast approaching: Tuesday, Oct. 13. It only takes 30 seconds to check, and then you’ll know for sure that your vote counts when you show up to the polls or mail in your ballot. To check your registration, use this link to log into your voter portal. If it lets you log in, you’re registered! If not, you can call your local Registrar of Voter’s Office to double-check, and you may need to re-register. Don’t wait! The deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 13.
If you're not registered, there's still time!
Register online here by the 13th, all you need is your Lousiana ID. If you have a felony conviction, this video will walk you through the online registration form, but remember, there is STILL an in-person step. You’ll need to bring your Voter Eligibility Letter in-person to the Registrar's Office. Call us with questions at 504.571.9599.
3. Make a voting plan
A voting plan simply means figuring out how you’re voting, when, and for who. For example, are you voting early? Great! All that’s left to do is to pick a day, find your early voting location, and fill out a sample ballot to take with you to the polls. Final sample ballots are available on the Secretary of State’s website on Wednesday, Oct. 14. It’s important to vote the way that’s best for you. Early voting, mail-in voting, and casting your ballot on election day are all available. Here are some key dates to consider:
4. Help your friends, family, and neighbors make a voting plan
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: community change happens when communities vote. We also know that it’s harder to vote when the people around you don’t - or can’t. That’s especially true for Black communities. A 2009 study found that eligible and registered black voters were nearly 12 percent less likely to cast ballots if they lived in states that disenfranchised formerly incarcerated people for life. That’s why making sure that your loved ones have a voting plan is essential in making our voices heard. Your support could be crucial for someone voting for the first time. So start that conversation. Text your brother to ask him if he’s registered and if he knows how he’s voting yet. Email your local sample ballot to your family and friends. See if your grandma needs a ride to the polls, or help requesting a mail-in ballot. In helping the people in our community create their voting plan, you could be the reason someone votes this season--we need that now more than ever.
5. Report voting violations
We all have a right to a polling place that is “free from solicitation, harassment, force or threats…” among many other things. Both workers and voters should be wearing masks, and polls should be free from any campaign materials. See something that’s not supposed to be happening at the polls? Call the Election Protection hotline, a non-partisan nonprofit organization. They have local, on-the-ground volunteers who they can send to your location, and lawyers on speed dial. They’ll do their best to record and resolve the issue: