BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Voters who live and/or work in the southern half of Bossier Parish soon will not have to drive to Benton to vote early.
"The one complaint I've heard from early voters, and Police Jury members have heard, is why don't we have something closer to us," Registrar of Voters Stephanie Agee said in a statement posted on the Police Jury's Facebook page. "Our goal was to get this done."
The early voting site will be set up in the History Center at Bossier Parish Library's Central Branch, 2206 Beckett St. in Bossier City.
That's near City Hall.
"The History Center is a good central location," Agee said. "Our thoughts are always on convenience and security when we select a voting site and this has what we want."
The site will have 10 voting machines and will be staffed by temporary workers from the parish's regular pool of election commissioners.
The state has issued a request for proposals for new equipment that could be available by spring.
"It gives people from Elm Grove to Bossier City to Haughton a better opportunity to turn out early," she said. "We're giving the people eight days to vote and we're moving the voting place closer to them. I think it's an incentive and an opportunity."
Agee, who expects the site to be ready for elections in March, requested $75,810 for the location.
Those funds are part of the parish's 2018 budget that police juror approved last week.
The final step toward preparing the site will be establishing a secure data connection between the new early voting site and the Louisiana secretary of state's office.
Bossier Parish has about 71,000 registered voters. The majority of those live in and around Bossier City.
"We kept stats on early voting on those who live just in the city limits of Bossier City and in every election, that percentage went up," Agee said. "About 41 percent of those in the election were Bossier City voters."