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Kayla Ursin holds Jerry Ursin IV as she gets ready to vote during Election Day at St. Dominic's School in New Orleans, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.

Hopefully most people in Louisianans aren’t having too much trouble voting today, or didn’t if they decided to cast their ballots early.

That’s not just a wish. A recent national study suggests it’s a reality.

Researchers at Northern Illinois University say Louisiana rates relatively high on its “cost of voting” index, which measures not financial cost but potential barriers to be overcome. It’s not at the top — Oregon, Colorado and California rank 1-3 — but it’s also nowhere near its usual place near the bottom of rankings.

Louisiana comes in at #20 on this list, which is a big improvement over two decades ago, when it ranked #48. It’s also better than surrounding states; Arkansas is #34, Texas #46 and Mississippi brings up the rear at #50.

So what is Louisiana doing right? Scot Schraufnagel, the study’s lead author and the chair of the university’s political science department, listed several positives.

Louisiana polls are open for 14 hours on Election Day, whereas in some states voting lasts as few as nine or ten hours. The state has a progressive pre-registration system, allowing future voters as young as 16 to sign up. Early voting is relatively easy, he added, as is registration because it can be done online.

Another positive factor, he said, is the state’s voter ID law, because it’s less restrictive than such laws in many other states. Voters are asked to show “generally recognized” picture ID but not limited to what type. And if they don’t have one, they can sign an affidavit to attest that they’re eligible (these ballots are subject to challenge). In stricter states, voters can be turned away if they don’t have specified identification.

Schraufnagel said the researchers weren’t just out to compare states, but to make a broader argument. The United States has long history of constructing voter laws to encourage turnout, he said, even though many recent changes are more about political strategy.

“The point that we’re trying to make is that the United States has always been the gold standard of inclusivity,” he said. “It can be done very safely.”

Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.