Voter Registration in Louisiana
State officials put extensive effort into ensuring that all qualifying residents can register to vote in Louisiana. The state is invested in providing whatever supports and assistance are necessary to allow citizens to exercise their electoral rights. Residents interested in applying for a voter registration card can do so online, by mail or in person at dozens of diverse locations across the state. Special equipment and personal assistance are available for those who need accommodations.
In recognition of the havoc environmental disasters have wrecked on residents’ homes and lives in the past, Louisiana also offers unique allowances to voters who have been geographically displaced due to qualifying emergencies and disasters. For example, displaced residents may submit a voter registration change of address request to have both their permanent physical addresses and their temporary mailing addresses added to their records. This dual registration enables voters to remain active in the system while their living situations are disrupted or in transition.
Who can register to vote in Louisiana?
The first question residents wondering how to register to vote in Louisiana need to answer is whether or not they are even qualified to register. Applicants can apply for a voter registration card if they are:
- United States citizens.
- Legal residents of Louisiana who are not maintaining active voter registration status in another state.
- Willing and able to present proof of identity and physical address, if necessary.
Those registering to vote through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may register as young as 16 years of age. To apply through any other method, voters must be at least 17 years of age. In all cases, registered voters cannot vote prior to their 18th birthdays.
Voter registration requests will not be processed or approved for applicants who have been convicted of felonies or who have been deemed incompetent or forbidden to vote by a court. Voters will also be denied the ability to register if they cannot provide a physical address. Post office and mail center boxes are not acceptable.
Louisiana Voter Registration Deadline
Prospective voters who begin to wonder, “Am I registered to vote in Louisiana?” only when Election Day is at hand run the risk of missing the state’s deadlines for voters. Applicants have until 20 days before an election to register online.
Residents applying by other methods must submit their applications no less than 30 days before an election to be eligible to vote. Additional deadlines may apply to absentee voters or those who need to arrange for assistance.
How to Register to Vote in Louisiana
Qualifying residents can apply for a Louisiana voter registration card online, in person or by mail. Applicants must have a DMV-issued photo identification to use the online system. These IDs carry a four-digit audit code that must be entered into the system to verify the record holder’s identity.
Online applications cannot be processed between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. daily. Department of Motor Vehicles Offices will also process new voter registrations and voter records updates electronically at record holders’ request. Residents registering to vote in person may submit their application to any of the following places:
- Government assistance program offices (DCFS, WIC, SNAP, Medicaid)
- Armed Forces Recruitment Centers
- Disability Service Centers (Deaf Action Centers and Independent Living Offices)
- Parish Registrar of Voters Offices
Applicants submitting their voter registration requests at any site other than a Registrar’s Office are not required to show any proof of identity or residence beyond what that agency mandates. Voters registering a Parish Registrar of Voters Office must supply their drivers licenses, or alternative evidence of identity such as a birth certificate, and proof of residency.
Residents registering to vote by mail should send their completed applications to their Parish Registrar of Voters Office.
Early Voting in Louisiana
Voters asking, “Where do I vote in Louisiana and can I vote early?” will be pleased to learn that the state places no restrictions on early voting. All voters may vote early at their discretion without supplying a reason for doing so. Interested parties who are properly registered to vote may cast their ballots at their Parish Registrar of Voters Office or another site determined by their parish up to two weeks prior to Election Day.
Early voters should check with their Parish Registrar for exact locations and times and should take signed photo ID card or driver’s license with them when they go to vote.
Louisiana Voter Registration for Active Duty Military and Out-of-State Residents
Voters who will be unable to make it to the polls in person due to military service or other travel can register to vote via absentee ballot. Out-of-country voters may be subject to different deadlines than other absentee voters. Military service members may also complete the voter registration process by submitting a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA).
They should note, however, that FPCA absentee ballots requests must be renewed each voting cycle and do not allow for the requesting of permanent or long-term absentee status. Louisiana requires FPCA applicants to have lived in the state before leaving the country to be able to register.
Louisiana Voter Registration for Absentee Voting
Louisiana voter registration card holders may request absentee ballots online or from their Parish Registrar of Voters Offices by mail, fax or email. Registered voters living out of the country or serving in the military have until close of business the day before an Election Day to request absentee ballots. These ballots may be sent electronically or by mail at voters’ preference.
Voter Registration Cards in Louisiana
Louisiana voter registration cards display voters’ information as it appears in their records. They include personal identifying information, as well as information about when, where and how voters may cast their ballots. It is not necessary for voters to have their cards when voting. They are not a substitute for photo identification.
How to Change Your Voter Registration in Louisiana
Louisiana voters who need to change voter registration information on their records may do so by contacting their Parish Registrar of Voters or using the online system. Parishes also make efforts to assist voters in remaining up to date by checking records against annual U.S. Postal Service canvasses. It is essential that voters proactively change voter registration address records when they move.
Voters whose addresses cannot be confirmed by USPS may be switched to “inactive” status. Inactive voters who fail to vote in two federal general elections may have their registrations suspended or canceled. Likewise, voters who change their names must submit appropriate legal evidence of the change, online or with their Parish Registrars, to maintain their registrations. These voters should also be sure to change the address on their drivers licenses and on other important DMV documentation, such as their car registration.
How to Replace a Lost Louisiana Voter Registration Card
Voters can obtain new or replacement Louisiana voter registration cards from their Parish Registrar of Voters Offices.