A bill that would allow more people to vote by mail passed its first hurdle on Tuesday.
Under law, if you are unable to vote in person on election day, you can early vote (which also is in person) two weeks before the election date or you can fill out an absentee vote and send it in by mail.
However, state law only allows people to absentee vote if they are outside of the parish and are a member of the military, a student or instructor at a higher education institution, a member of the clergy posted outside of the parish, a person who has moved out of the parish, a person who is receiving mental treatment outside the parish or a person expects to be outside of the parish on voting day.
Sen. Karen Carter Peterson’s Senate Bill 164 would allow anyone to absentee vote for any reason.
It was reported favorably by the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee and will now make its way to the Senate floor.
“Overall, the intent is just to make it easier to vote,” Peterson, a New Orleans Democrat, said. “The more opportunity the better to facilitate access to the voting booth.”
Representatives from the Secretary of State’s Office cautioned legislators that the change could end up costing them about $1.28 more per ballot.
Follow Rebekah Allen on Twitter @rebekahallen.