Warning to voters: it may be too late to guarantee ballot delivery

Louisiana voters must get their absentee ballots in before 4:30 p.m. Nov. 2

BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) - If you have not already mailed in your absentee ballot just yet: don’t. That’s the advice of many election officials and analysts.

That’s because with less than a week left before election day there’s no guarantee now that the U.S. Postal Service can deliver it on time. Recent operational changes to the USPS are blamed for the slowing of mail service and a loss of confidence in that service.

That’s part of the reason that the Bossier Parish Registrar of Voters herself could be seen manning the tent where people are driving through to drop off their absentee ballot.

Registrar Stephanie Agee says time is running out in Louisiana to get ballots in by 4:30 p.m. on November 2.

“I have to have it in my hands. So that’s why we’re doing the hand delivery, or the curbside drive, is because of the fact that if the mail didn’t get it here and I don’t get it by 4:30 on Monday it’s not going to count. It would be considered after the deadline," said Agee.

Agee emphasizes that it does not matter when the absentee ballot is postmarked.

She also says when it comes to mail-in voting, she’s hearing similar comments from many voters.

“Scared of the mail. That’s the most, ‘I didn’t think it would get here.’ You know, ‘I’m not going to put it in the mail because I just don’t trust the mail,'" said Agee.

Plenty of voting rights advocates say such deadlines do not allow all the votes to be counted, while Agee counters that these ballots were mailed out almost two months ago, which is more than enough time to get them back in.

Agee is also urging people not to blame postal carriers for delays in the mailing system.

“The postal service has been great with us. I mean, they do try to get them up here. They make sure we get them in. Most of the time the Shreveport guy will actually bring them up here because he knows the deadline," explained Agee.

"So, he tries to take care of us. He tries to watch for me, tries to pull them. And he will literally drive them up here to the Bossier Parish Courthouse.”

The absentee ballot drop off station will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday.

Voters like Paula Wiley-Boute, says she knows all about the pending deadline.

“Yes. I have heard that, yes. And this is awesome. There’s no line. Just drive through and drop it off," said Wiley-Boute. “I drove it up because I am considered COVID-high risk and I can’t be out. So, I thought this was great.”

Still others cannot leave their home, and with no guarantees mail can deliver their absentee ballot before the deadline - a friend can deliver one ballot, while there’s no drop-off limit for family members.

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