State Rep. Mandie Landry’s proposal, that would have let any Louisiana voter request an absentee ballot has been axed by the House and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The New Orleans Democrat’s bill was set to remove qualification restrictions for all the registered voters who sought a mail-in ballot. Under the current Louisiana law, the absentee ballots are available for senior citizens, students, ministers, military members, disabled citizens, voters who are hospitalized, and voters who have moved. When requesting a ballot, voters must explain why they were unable to appear in person.
On May 19th, lawmakers voted 10-4 to keep Rep. Landry’s bill from advancing to the house floor by involuntarily deferring it, reports WDSU.
Landry had testified that 33 other states in the U.S. currently allow vote-by-mail to any voters, which is especially relevant because of the pandemic. She was supported by a number of college students and a recent LSU graduate Catherine McKinney, whose Louisiana-Vote-By-Mail petition received more than 5,700 signatures.
“People are still scared [because of the pandemic]” McKinney said, according to WDSU. “This bill allows us to really accommodate… allows that basic freedom.”
Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, a Republican, opposed the bill, claiming it would be a shortcut for frauds. “Not a chance on god’s green earth can I implement this legislation for November,” he told the lawmakers according to WAFB9. He also claimed that Landry’s plan would delay election results by as many as two weeks.
According to the Brennan Center analysis, the “Vote-by-Mail Fraud” belief carries a false narrative. “Despite this dramatic increase in mail voting over time, fraud rates remain infinitesimally small,” the article reads, noting that from 2000 to 2012 there were only 491 known cases of absentee ballot fraud, out of several billion votes cast by mail.