(The Center Square) – Louisiana’s October statewide election has been postponed because of Hurricane Ida.
Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin made the announcement after meeting with Gov. John Bel Edwards, who has prioritized recovery from the Category 4 hurricane. Edwards issued a corresponding executive order Thursday afternoon.
Hurricane Ida caused widespread damage to homes, businesses and communities throughout southeast Louisiana. Hundreds of thousands of residents have been without power, and securing basic necessities remains a challenge for Louisianans.
The previously scheduled Oct. 9 election now will be held Nov. 13, and the previously scheduled Nov. 13 election now will occur Dec. 11.
“This will allow our staff and local partners more time to properly prepare for a statewide election while ensuring the integrity of our election processes and that our voters’ traditional voting habits are as undisturbed as possible,” Ardoin said.
Earlier this week, Edwards suspended all legal deadlines in the state until at least Sept. 24. The order is intended to provide relief for those living in affected communities. It also would have complicated the election process timeline in addition to Ida-related problems.
Ardion requested the delay, along with numerous election officials and civic groups. Among their concerns were postal delivery disruptions, polling location damages and displaced election commissioners and staff members. Voter integrity and voter turnout also were concerns.
“With a number of deadlines forthcoming, such as voter registration deadlines, and early voting set to commence in less than three weeks, I am calling on Governor Edwards to approve rescheduling the October 9 and November 13 elections,” Ardoin said Tuesday.
The postponed Oct. 9 open primary election included four constitutional ballot amendments, all dealing with taxes and government spending. The now-delayed Nov. 13 election pertained to open general election voting.
Louisiana’s open primary system, sometimes called a “jungle primary,” allows qualified candidates for office to run together in one election. All eligible voters may cast a vote regardless of party affiliation. If no single candidate receives a majority, defined as more than 50%, then the top two candidates will enter a run-off general election.
While all state, parish, municipal and congressional races operate under the open primary system, presidential elections do not.
According to Edwards' order, the first early voting period will be held Oct. 30 through Nov. 6, and the second early voting period will be held Nov. 27 through Dec. 4.
Ardoin said additional announcements will occur over the coming days and weeks, including an emergency certification and election-related deadlines.