A state district judge Tuesday rejected a West Monroe legislator’s attempt to extend early voting for the Dec. 6 election.
19th Judicial Court Judge Todd Hernandez denied a temporary restraining order and set a Dec. 4 trial date in an in-chamber’s session.
“It was not unexpected,” said state Rep. Marcus Hunter, a Democrat, who argued shortening early voting from seven to five days denied voter access.
“It will be essentially moot as it pertains to early voting,” he said. But he said the case could provide grounds for future elections.
Early voting began last Saturday and continues through Saturday with the exception of Sunday and two official state holidays - Thanksgiving on Thursday and Acadian Day on Friday.
The U.S. Senate in which Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy is trying to unseat veteran Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu tops the ballot. There are also run-offs for two congressional seats - the Baton Rouge-based 6th District which Cassidy is vacating and the sprawling 5th District which runs from north to south Louisiana on the eastern side of the state.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler said state law states that the registrars shall observe the holidays and he has no discretion. He also said there have been eight other elections in which early voting has been cut short by a variety of holidays.
Hunter said Schedler had the discretion in his ministerial capacity to require essential registrar of voters employees to work.
Hunter cited several state laws approved by the Legislature in recent years that expand both early voting and voter days and times. He said that shows the Legislature intent to increase access to voting.