House Bill 286 to Extend Early Voting Passes Senate and Headed to Governor’s Desk
Baton Rouge, LA– HB 286 to extend early voting for presidential elections passed the Louisiana Senate unanimously and is now headed to the Governor’s desk. The bill, sponsored by Representative Fred Jones out of Monroe, extends in-person early voting for presidential elections. Under this new law, early voting for presidential elections will take place over 11 days instead of the previous 7.
“This is a big achievement for a state in the deep south” said Power Coalition Founder and CEO, Ashley Shelton. “We know that providing more opportunities to vote increases turnout, makes lines shorter, and expands democracy.”
In 2020, Power Coalition filed a federal lawsuit to extend early voting and increase vote by mail options in a COVID reality. These increased options were widely used and demonstrated the need for increased voting options in Louisiana; however, we saw the need to make these options available in all elections.
Early voting is an option available to any registered voter. It has been shown to reduce lines at polling locations and makes the process more convenient for workers, caregivers, and others.
Previously, and for all elections that do not include the presidential election, Louisiana voters have 7 days of early voting. Across the country, the average length of time for early voting is 19 days, and some states have as many as 45 days of early voting. This new law extends early voting for presidential elections in Louisiana, making it a leader for early voting in the south.
Louisiana has seen early voting increase over the past decade, over 315,000 voted early in person in the presidential election in 2012, 468,000 voted early in person in 2016, and 817,000 voted early in person in 2020. Louisiana voters like the ease of early voting, a 2021 LSU poll found that 75% of people were in favor of extended early voting.
The bill passed with the support of Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, testifying that the state has seen increased early voting in recent years. After nearly 1 million people used these options it became clear they were widely supported.
“In 2020, we were faced with adversity and the need to extend voting and democracy as we lived in a COVID reality. In 2021, due to the results of our advocacy, we gained multiple allies who saw the significance of this fight and the need to increase voting access throughout the state,” said Power Coalition Director of Programs, Janea Jamison. “While other deep south states are passing voter suppression bills, we are proudly able to extend voting access in the state of Louisiana. We are excited that Louisianans have extended early voting for presidential elections and will continue to work to secure extended early voting for all elections.”
The bill is headed to the Governor’s desk and when signed will go into effect for the 2024 presidential election.
What: House Bill 286 passes the Senate unanimously and will extend early voting for presidential elections in Louisiana.
Janea Jamison, Director of Programs for Power Coalition, (985) 513-1674 firstname.lastname@example.org