Lafayette Parish residents could have a new early voting site on the south side in time for the presidential election this fall.
Elected officials in Youngsville and Broussard are working together to fund the creation of the parish's second early voting site, which they're hoping the Lafayette Parish Council will eventually pick up the tab for.
The early voting site will likely be at the Lafayette Public Library's east branch on La Neuville Road.
The Youngsville City Council announced its intention to enter into the agreement with Broussard during its regular meeting Thursday evening, which took place via video conference because of coronavirus restrictions on gatherings.
The Broussard City Council is expected to approve a similar proclamation during its next meeting May 26.
Leaders of both cities have been working with the Lafayette Parish Council, Lafayette Parish Registrar of Voters and the Louisiana Secretary of State's office to create the new voting site.
Every parish in the state has early voting available at the registrar of voters' office. The downtown Lafayette office has long been the only option for Lafayette Parish voters who wish to cast their ballots ahead of Election Day.
The new early voting site would also be open to all registered voters in the parish.
"We believe that having an early voting site that can service our community will be beneficial for all of our residents and that it warrants the expenditure," said Youngsville Mayor Ken Ritter during Thursday's meeting. "Our hope is that at the end of the two years or during this two year period that the parish council can pick up the expense to continue the early voting site. We believe it will be very popular."
The plan is for Youngsville and Broussard to split the cost to create the early voting site and for the parish to maintain the site going forward. It was not immediately clear how much either will cost.
There has been support at the parish level, according to Lafayette Parish Councilman Josh Carlson, who represents the southern portion of the parish.
"Really, everyone was onboard with this," Carlson said during the meeting. "I don't think there's anyone that doesn't see the need for another early voting site on the south side of the parish to serve Broussard, Youngsville and the unincorporated areas of the parish."
Carlson said the new early voting site wouldn't happen without Youngsville and Broussard taking the initiative to pay for its creation. He said it's his job to make sure both cities' generosity doesn't become a "long-term crutch" for the parish.
"I think it will be highly successful," Carlson said. "It's my job to work with other council members to make sure we find funding for this site in the future, which is my commitment to all of you."