Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin proposed greater temporary use of mail-in ballots than the Legislature was willing to approve. (photo credit: Abbie Shull/LSU Manship School News Service)

Political analyst Jeremy Alford

Political analyst Jeremy Alford

Gov. John Bel Edwards

Gov. John Bel Edwards

SHREVEPORT, La. - Running an election under normal circumstances can be tense, but mix in a pandemic, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin found himself in a no win situation.

KTBS's political analyst Jeremy Alford said its probably as tough as he's seen. "When you've got the secretary of state in tears before a legislative  committee ... you have to assume its pretty tough," Alford said.

He was referring to the long road Ardoin has had to travel  leading up to the Nov. 3 presidential election.

With COVID-19 concerns, Gov. John Bel Edwards has fought Ardoin's emergency election plan every step of the way.

"The secretary of state was simply feeling the pressure. No matter what decision or proposal he would have come forth with ... there would have been an army of angry people waiting to criticize him and the plan," Alford said.

When Edwards didn't approve Ardoin's November election plan, he sued and a federal judge ruled in favor of the governor.

"Certainly I was disappointed in the ruling, but what we have to focus on is moving forward now and we've got an election to run," Ardoin said.

For now, Ardoin is looking forward and explaining what the judge's running means.

"Only a couple things changed. One thing that wasn't in my emergency plan was the full COVID absentee ballot request form," Ardoin said.

He said Louisiana's normal absentee ballot program will be in affect with five addition COVID related reasons for requesting one. But there are plenty of other things to plan for in a pandemic election.

"Ten days of early voting starting Oct. 16 and ending the 27th, except Sundays. We added an additional 30 minutes on the front end ... so we'll start at 8 a.m. and an additional hour on the back end, and we'll end at 7 p.m.," Ardoin said.

All poll workers will wear PPEs and mask will be given to all voters who don't have one.

"We're also gonna be putting up guards, splash guards, if you will or sneeze guards in front of the commissioners that sign voters on election day," Ardoin said. "We'll have additional personnel to assist in sanitizing, like we did ... each machine right after each voter uses it."

Ardion is happy some things are still in place.

"What we don't have is ... we don't have automatic registration, we don't have automatic absentee requests,  we don't have automatic vote by mail," he said. "They wanted to get rid of the witness signature requirement and we ... we still have that. So I'm really pleased all of our integrity measures are still in place."

There is one other big thing Ardoin is worried about in this age of a pandemic election.

"Lately the secretary of state has been saying he's worried about misinformation," Alford said. "Don't believe everything you see on Facebook and social media, because there's a lot misinformation going on out there."

And there is one more thing complicating the upcoming election.

"We're dealing with the aftereffects of Hurricane Laura and what keeps me up at night is another potential storm that may be coming our way," Ardoin said.


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