SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Over the weekend, Saturday June 20 was the first day of early voting for the July 11 election in Louisiana.
Because of COVID-19, voters now have two weeks to early vote. Voting will last until July 4 but is closed on Sunday, June 21 and June 28.
Early voting ends July 4 for the July 11 election.
“We hope that everybody takes this time for the next two weeks to take the time and come out,” said Rachel Brown with the Caddo Registrar of Voters Office. “We don’t have a lot of crowds which is good so everybody has ample time to come out and vote.”
The Secretary of State’s Office has provided both Caddo and Bossier Parish voting locations with proper personal protective equipment to keep staff and voters safe.
Hand sanitizer and finger cots will be provided for voters, and staff will be thoroughly cleaning machines and items touched by voters as well.
“Once you reach the door, we are controlling the environment that you are in,” Brown said. “We’re asking that you have your ID out and that you place in a plastic bag as you walk through the process that way we can get people through pretty quick.”
Both parishes do not require voters to wear masks, but they are strongly encouraging people to wear them.
Brown says they have received a large request for applications for mail-in ballots.
They typically average around four to 500 voters a day during early voting, but so far they are seeing around 100 people a day.
“Normally the voting is about seven days and this time it’s been extended... so that’s one of the reasons our numbers are probably a little low.”
Audrius Reed came out Tuesday to early vote and admits all the measures put in place were a little different than what she is used to.
“I liked the methods that they used to make sure everything was nice and clean and sanitized for voters,” she said. “It’s very different, but you can tell that they made as many efforts as possible to be proactive about the sanitation.”
In Bossier Parish, voters have two locations to go to for early voting: the Bossier Parish Library History Center in Bossier City and the Bossier Parish Courthouse in Benton.
Stephanie Agee is the Registrar of Voters for Bossier Parish and says so far they’ve received over 2,500 mail-in ballots for this election.
The location in Bossier City is averaging under 100 voters a day while the courthouse is seeing less than that currently.
“It is just Democrats and Republicans that can vote in this, so we have people that come in and they want to vote but they are not eligible to vote,” she said. “But I think the numbers as far as early voting, I personally think is still pretty slow.”
She’s hoping that with more time to early vote, it gives people more people options.
“If you had a line at the precincts or just to spread it out, to me just make your choice and come vote,” said Agee. “That’s the main thing.”
Voters like Melyssa Fowler and Rebecca Johnson came out to early vote Tuesday in Bossier City and were pleased with everything put in place to keep them safe.
“I have young kids (and) I’m pregnant,” Fowler said. “My husband works in the hospital so I’m glad to see that they are taking appropriate measures.
“I thought it was great,” Johnson. “We always like to vote early and the hand sanitizer and all the precautions that they (took), I’m very impressed.”
The Secretary of State’s office has provided a new COVID-19 absentee ballot for voters as well.