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Voting by Mail

If you registered to vote by mail and you have not previously voted in the parish, you must vote in person the first time either during early voting, or on Election Day, unless an exception applies.

Exceptions include:
  • military or overseas citizens;
  • people Homebound or in the Disability Program;
  • students, who submit a copy of student ID or fee bill with the request;
  • citizens who appear in the registrar of voters office before the election to verify identity; and
  • participants in the state's address confidentiality program.
In Louisiana you must have a reason to be eligible to vote by mail, unless you are a military or overseas citizen. There are specific reasons to vote by mail.

All elections are open to all eligible voters in Louisiana, except for the Presidential Preference Primary and the state and local party elections (Democratic and Republican State Central Committees and Parish Executive Committees).

In Louisiana, you must have a reason to be eligible to vote by mail, unless you are a military or overseas voter. There are specific reasons listed below that qualify you to vote by mail. You can submit an application requesting a mail ballot through our online system or you may print and mail an application directly to your registrar of voters.

GENERAL APPLICATION QUALIFICATIONS (REASONS TO APPLY)

Senior Citizen: If you are 65 years of age or older you may apply through a General Application and once accepted by the registrar of voters, vote by mail. You will automatically receive a ballot by mail for all upcoming elections unless you cancel your request in writing to the registrar of voters or a ballot is returned as undeliverable.

Temporarily Absent: If you are temporarily outside of Louisiana or your parish during the early voting period and on election day, or expect to be, you may apply through a General Application and once accepted by the registrar of voters, vote by mail. Any person who requests an absentee by mail ballot be mailed to an address within the parish must indicate on the application the dates that they will be outside the territorial limits of the state or absent from the parish.

Offshore: If you work or expect to be offshore working during the early voting period and on election day, you may apply through a General Application and once accepted by the registrar of voters, vote by mail.

Nursing Home: If you reside in a nursing home, veterans' home or a hospital for an extended stay for a physical disability and are unable to vote in person during early voting or at the polls on election day, you may apply through a General Application and enroll in the nursing home early voting program. You are required to provide a physician's letter that indicates that by reason of your disability, you are unable to appear in person to vote either during early voting or at the polling place on election day, and once accepted by the registrar of voters, the registrar or a deputy registrar will go to your home facility during a period of a week prior to the beginning of early voting through the last day of early voting. The registrar of voters will bring either a paper ballot or a portable voting machine and guide you through the process of casting your vote.

Higher Education: If you are a student, instructor or professor located and living outside of your parish of registration, or the spouse/dependent thereof, you may apply through a General Application and once accepted by the registrar of voters, vote by mail.

Clergy: If you are minister, priest, rabbi, or other member of the clergy assigned outside of your parish of registration, or a spouse/dependent, you may apply through a General Application and once accepted by the registrar of voters, vote by mail.

Moved Out of Parish: If you moved more than 100 miles from the parish seat of your former residence after the voter registration books closed (30 days prior to an election), you may apply through a General Application and once accepted by the registrar of voters, vote by mail.

Involuntary Confinement: If you are involuntarily confined in an institution for mental treatment outside your parish of registration and you are not interdicted and not judicially declared incompetent, you may apply through a General Application and once accepted by the registrar of voters, vote by mail.

Hospitalized: If you expect to be hospitalized on election day and did not have knowledge of the hospitalization until after the time for early voting had expired; or you were hospitalized during the time for early voting and you expect to be hospitalized on election day; or you were either hospitalized or restricted to bed by your physician during early voting and on election day, you may apply through a General Application and once accepted by the registrar of voters, vote by mail.

Incarcerated: If you are incarcerated or expect to be incarcerated in an institution inside or outside of your parish of registration and you are not under an order of imprisonment for conviction of a felony, you may apply through a General Application and once accepted by the registrar of voters, vote by mail.

Address Confidentiality Program: If you are a program participant in the secretary of state's Address Confidentiality Program, you may apply through a General Application and once accepted by the registrar of voters, vote by mail.

Juror: If you will be sequestered on the day of the election, you may apply through a General Application and once accepted by the registrar of voters, vote by mail. 

DISABLED APPLICATION QUALIFICATIONS (REASONS TO APPLY)

Physical Disability: If you are physically disabled, you may apply through the Disabled Application and if not enrolled, enroll in the disability program. Once accepted by the registrar of voters, you will automatically receive a ballot by mail for all upcoming elections unless you cancel your request or a ballot is returned as undeliverable. If you have not previously provided proof of disability to your parish registrar of voters, one of the following must be submitted along with your application:

  • a copy of a mobility impaired identification card issued by the Office of Motor Vehicles;
  • a copy of social security disability benefits, veteran’s disability benefits, paratransit services, benefits from the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities or benefits from Louisiana Rehabilitation Services; or
  • a physician’s letter certifying your disability.  

In addition to any disability documentation listed above, any voter enrolling in the disability program must also enclose a copy of a photo ID (Louisiana driver’s license, Louisiana special ID card or other photo ID with name and signature) or a letter of oath where you have listed the names and addresses of two persons residing in your precinct who could make oath, if required, to the fact that you are physically disabled.

Homebound: If you are homebound and cannot vote without assistance, you may apply through the Disabled Application and if not enrolled, enroll in the disability program. If you are disabled and homebound and are voting for the first time, your proof of disability must be a physician's letter certifying that you are homebound to exempt you from law that requires that you either register or vote for the first time in person. Otherwise, you may provide proof of disability through any of the documents listed above. Once accepted by the registrar of voters, you will automatically receive a ballot by mail for all upcoming elections unless you cancel your request in writing to the registrar of voters or a ballot is returned as undeliverable.

General and Disabled Applications: Applicants must request a ballot by 4:30 p.m. CST on the 4th day before election day.

Military, Overseas or Hospitalized Applications: Military personnel and/or their dependents; U.S. citizens residing outside the U.S.; or voters that are hospitalized must request their ballot by 4:30 p.m. CST on the day before election day.

You can submit an application requesting a mail ballot through our online system or you may print and mail an application directly to your registrar of voters.

Please be aware of standard mail delivery times and the return ballot deadline when applying for a mail ballot to ensure your voted ballot is received by the registrar of voters before the deadline. It is recommended that if you are going to request a mail ballot that you apply as soon as possible as there is no start date to apply.

Disabled voters, military voters and overseas voters may be eligible to receive their mail ballot electronically. Please contact your registrar of voters for additional information.

Online Application: You may request an absentee by mail ballot by logging in to the Louisiana Voter Portal and following these steps:

  1. Click the 'Search By Voter' button.
  2. Type in your First Name, Last Name and Zip Code or Birth Month and Year and then click the 'Submit' button;
  3. Click the 'Request Absentee Ballot' link found under the Quick Links heading; and
  4. Complete requested information and submit.

Note: You must be logged in to the Voter Portal as the voter for whom the request is intended to electronically submit a request for an absentee ballot.

Print and Mail Application: You may also print an application to request an absentee by mail ballot which you can complete and deliver to your parish registrar of voters. Delivery may be by U.S. Postal Service, commercial carrier, hand delivery or fax. If hand delivered or faxed, the application can only be for you or your immediate family member. Select the application that applies to you:

View upcoming election dates. You will need to list the election dates on your application.

View voting information for military or overseas voters.
The registrar of voters must verify that you are qualified to vote by mail. If your eligibility cannot be verified, then you will be notified in writing and you will not receive a ballot. See Who can vote by mail? Some reasons your request to vote by mail may be rejected are:
  • your request was not received timely (see What is the timeline to vote by mail?);
  • you registered by mail, and you must vote in person the first time, unless an exception applies (see Who can vote by mail?);
  • you applied to vote by mail from a parish or district/precinct where you are not registered to vote or eligible to vote;
  • your application to register to vote was not received timely and therefore, you are not eligible to vote in the election (you must register to vote 30 days before an election in order to vote in the election); or 
  • your request was incomplete (you may vote early or on Election Day).
Check to make sure you have received all of the following:
  • official ballot(s) (white paper ballot(s) for either the primary or general election);
  • affidavit envelope (secrecy envelope to seal your voted ballot with affidavit flap to certify your information);
  • return envelope (to mail secrecy envelope with voted ballot(s) to registrar of voters); and
  • instructions for absentee voting by mail.
Check to make sure you have received the following:

official white paper ballot(s) for the primary election, a green special absentee ballot(s) for the general election (run-offs if there are two (2) or more candidates in a race), an additional white paper ballot(s) for the general election after the primary election is concluded in a separate mailing if additional proposition questions are added to the general election;
affidavit secrecy envelope to seal your voted ballot(s) with affidavit flap to verify your information (you will receive a white affidavit envelope and a green affidavit envelope);
return envelope to mail secrecy envelope with voted ballot(s) to registrar of voters (you will receive only one (1) envelope to return all ballot(s); and
instructions for absentee voting by mail.

If you have received your mail ballot but you will not have time to return it by mail, you may request that the registrar of voters send you the documents to return your ballot by fax. The documents include an affidavit and a statement waiving your right to a secret ballot. 

If you have not yet received your mail ballot, you can request that the registrar of voters also send your ballot by fax. See How do I request to vote by mail?

You must complete the affidavit and statement waiving your right to a secret ballot and return them along with your voted ballot either by mail or by fax.  
You may vote by mail by following these steps:
  1. review and confirm that you have your correct ballot by logging in to the Louisiana Voter Portal or downloading the free GeauxVote app on any smartphone or tablet,
  2. follow instructions on the ballot to vote your ballot(s) being sure to completely fill in the oval to the right of your selection with a black lead pencil (if you incorrectly mark the ballot, erase the incorrect mark completely and make a new mark) (if you are unable to make a change on the ballot or correct any error on the ballot and need a replacement ballot, notify the registrar of voters for your parish) (if you make selections for more than the number of candidates to be elected for an office, or make selections both for and against a proposition, your selections for that office or proposition will be void),
  3. place ballot(s) in affidavit envelope with affidavit flap and seal (do not detach or remove affidavit flap),
  4. VERY IMPORTANT- fill in all blanks on the affidavit flap, including the state and parish where you are completing the affidavit, your full name (last, first, middle), parish of residence, street address, ward and precinct, city or town and mother's maiden name (check either box two for voter by mail or box three if you are a sequestered juror),
  5. VERY IMPORTANT- either sign and date the affidavit in the presence of a notary public, or have a witness sign (the notary or witness must also sign the affidavit) (if a notary is used, the notary must also print his or her title, name, and either his or her notary or bar role number) (enter the date of the election),
  6. VERY IMPORTANT- mark your ballot in secret as instructed on the ballot (you must mark your own ballot unless you are eligible for assistance) (if registered for assistance, the person assisting you in voting must sign the acknowledgment at the bottom of the addidavit flap, verifying that he or she has marked the ballot in the manner dictated by you) (if you are not entitled to assistance, leave this part blank (a voter is entitled to receive assistance in voting if he or she is unable to read, visually impaired or physically disabled)) (prior to receiving assistance, the voter shall have filed in person or by mail the required proof of disability with their local registrar of voters) (candidates in the election are prohibited from assisting a voter; except for this prohibition, voters entitled to assistance in voting may receive the assistance of any person of his or her choice) (the person assisting the voter in signing his or her name or making his or her mark shall explain to the voter that a signature or mark so made constitutes certification that all statements in the affidavit are true and correct and that any person who knowingly provides false or incorrect statements is subject to a fine or imprisonment, or both. (La R.S. 18:1310 and La R.S. 18:1461.3), and
  7. place the sealed affidavit envelope with the affidavit flap in the return envelope marked "Official Absentee Balloting Material---First-Class Mail" addressed to the registrar of voters, add the proper postage and deposit in the mail.
See  What is the timeline to vote by mail? for all deadlines.
For instructions on voting by mail when receiving a ballot electronically, please refer to the instructions transmitted with your electronic ballot. For instructions on voting by mail when you receive paper ballots by mail, please refer to the instructions below.

To vote your absentee ballot for either the primary election or general election (white ballot(s)):
  1. you may review and confirm that you have your correct ballot by logging in to the Louisiana Voter Portal or by downloading the free GeauxVote app on any smartphone or tablet;
  2. follow instructions on the ballot to vote your ballot(s) being sure to completely fill in the oval to the right of your selection with a black lead pencil (if you incorrectly mark the ballot, erase the incorrect mark completely and make a new mark; if you are unable to make a change on the ballot or correct any error on the ballot and need a replacement ballot, notify your parish registrar of voters; if you make selections for more than the number of candidates to be elected for an office, or make selections both for and against a proposition, your selections for that office or proposition will be void);
  3. place ballot(s) in the white affidavit envelope with affidavit flap and seal (do not detach or remove the flap);
  4. (VERY IMPORTANT) fill in all blanks on the affidavit flap, including location where you are completing the affidavit, your full name (last, first, middle), parish of residence, street address, city or town, ward and precinct and mother's maiden name;
  5. (VERY IMPORTANT) sign and date the affidavit and enter the date of the election;
  6. (VERY IMPORTANT) mark your ballot in secret as instructed on the ballot (you must mark your own ballot unless you are eligible for assistance. If registered for assistance, the person assisting you in voting must sign the acknowledgment at the bottom of the affidavit, verifying that he has marked the ballot in the manner dictated by you. A voter is entitled to receive assistance in voting if he is unable to read, visually impaired or physically disabled. Prior to receiving assistance, the voter shall have filed in person or by mail the required proof of disability with their local registrar of voters. Candidates in the election are prohibited from assisting a voter. Except for this prohibition, voters entitled to assistance in voting may receive the assistance of any person of his choice. The person assisting the voter in signing his name or making his mark shall explain to the voter that a signature or mark so made constitutes certification that all statements in the affidavit are true and correct and that any person who knowingly provides false or incorrect statements is subject to a fine or imprisonment, or both. (La R.S. 18:1310 and . La R.S. 18:1461.3)  If you are not entitled to assistance, leave this part blank); and 
  7. place the white sealed affidavit envelope with the affidavit flap in the white return envelope marked Official Absentee Balloting Material---First Class Mail addressed to the registrar of voters.
To vote your special absentee ballot for a general election (green ranking ballot):
  1. vote your green ranking ballot(s) by preference for each candidate by placing the number one (1) in the box next to the candidate's name of your first choice, the number two (2) next to the candidate's name of your second choice, and so on until you have completed voting  (it is a ranking of your candidates for the general election (runoff election);
  2. place the green ranking ballot(s) in the green ballot envelope with affidavit flap marked SPECIAL ABSENTEE BALLOT-GENERAL ELECTION and seal (do not detach or remove the flap);
  3. follow the instructions in numbers 4-6 above to complete the process; and
  4. place both the white and green sealed affidavit envelopes in the white return envelope and deposit in the mail.

Your vote will be counted election night by the parish board of election supervisors by a digital scanner or hand count.

Your ballot will be counted by first comparing the name on your affidavit to the list of absentee by mail ballots and determining if your ballot is valid. A ballot may be rejected if:

  • it is challenged successfully by a candidate or his or her representative, a member of the board, or a qualified elector for grounds of the applicant not being qualified to vote in the election or in the precinct, or not being the person whose name is shown as being registered to vote;
  • the board has cause to reject the ballot; or
  • the ballot contains a distinguishing mark or feature making the ballot susceptible of identification (cause may include failure to fill in any and/or all blanks on the affidavit).
Your white paper ballot will be counted as described in How will my ballot be counted if I vote by mail? Your special absentee ballot for the general election (green ranking ballot) will be counted on the night of the general election by the parish board of election supervisors by hand count. If your first choice candidate is eliminated in the primary, your second choice candidate will receive your vote and so on until your order of preference is exhausted. If you choose to number only one candidate and if that candidate does not advance to the general election, you will not have cast a vote for a candidate for that office in the general election. Your ballot will be counted by first comparing the name on your certificate to the list of absentee by mail ballots and determining if your ballot is valid.

A ballot may be rejected if:

it is challenged successfully by a candidate or his representative, a member of the board, or a qualified elector for grounds of the applicant not being qualified to vote in the election or in the precinct, or not being the person whose name is shown as being registered to vote;
the board has cause to reject the ballot; or
the ballot contains a distinguishing mark or feature making the ballot susceptible of identification (cause may include failure to fill in any and/or all blanks on the affidavit).
No, you can return your ballot by mail, by fax, or by hand delivery. If by hand delivery or fax, you may only return your own ballot, unless you are returning a ballot for a family member. You will be required to sign a statement in that case.  There are special forms to complete to return a ballot by fax.  Please contact your local registrar of voters. 
There are special provisions for U.S. military or overseas citizens during a time of declared emergency. Please contact your parish registrar of voters to see if you are eligible to return your mail ballot by email.
Only a military or overseas citizen who has made a timely application to vote by mail in accordance with Louisiana law and who did not receive an absentee by mail ballot may use the FWAB to vote in federal elections.
No, Louisiana does not allow write-in candidates.

Louisiana state law prohibits:

  • giving or offering to give, directly or indirectly, money or anything of present or prospective value to influence a vote;
  • intimidating, deceiving or misinforming, directly or indirectly, any voter or prospective voter in matters concerning voting or nonvoting;
  • voting or attempting to vote more than once at an election;
  • offering money or anything of apparent present or prospective value or use, directly or indirectly, or engage in any form of intimidation to influence the action or encourage inaction of any election official with regard to the duties of his or her office;
  • disobeying any lawful instruction of the registrar, deputy registrars, commissioners or a law enforcement officer assisting at the early voting location or polling place or without lawful authority, obstructing, hindering or delaying any voter on his way to or while returning home from any early voting location or polling place where an election is held or impede a voter from entering or exiting an early voting location or polling place;
  • voting or attempting to vote, knowing that you are not qualified, or influencing or attempting to influence another to vote, knowing such voter to be unqualified or the vote to be fraudulent;
  • voting or attempting to vote in the name of another or in an assumed or fictitious name, or in any manner other than as provided by the Louisiana Election Code;
  • supplying a false answer or statement to an election official or on any document required by the Louisiana Election Code, or executing an affidavit knowing it to contain false or incorrect information;
  • forging the name of another, or using a fictitious name on an affidavit or document required by the Louisiana Election Code;
  • unlawfully, directly or indirectly, possessing, tampering with, breaking, impairing, impeding or otherwise interfering with the maintenance, adjustment, delivery, use or operation of any voting machine or with any paraphernalia connected with or appertaining to the machine;
  • voters, election officials, watchers (Election Day only), or persons assisting a voter to allow a ballot to be seen, (except as provided by law), announce the manner in which a person has cast a ballot, place a distinguishing mark on a ballot with intent to make the ballot identifiable or make a false statement concerning a voter's ability to mark a ballot without assistance;
  • coercing, compelling or otherwise influencing an assisted voter to cast a vote in a certain way or fail to mark the ballot or vote in the manner dictated by the voter by the person providing assistance;
  • signing another voter's name in the precinct register;
  • attempting to influence an election official or watcher (Election Day only) in the performance of his or her duties;
  • appearing in an intoxicated condition or possessing any beverage of alcoholic content;
  • voting at the polls on Election Day if you have voted early or submitted your absentee by mail ballot;
  • voting if you have moved more than three months ago to an address outside of the parish or if registered to vote in another parish or state;
  • remaining within any early voting location or polling place or within a radius of 600 feet of the entrance of any polling place, except when exercising the right to vote, after having been directed by a commissioner or law enforcement officer to leave the premises or area of an early voting location or polling place;
  • placing or displaying political signs, pictures, or other forms of political advertising and/or handing out, placing or displaying campaign cards, pictures or other campaign literature of any kind or description whatsoever, unless on private property which is not being used as an early voting location or polling place;
  • carrying or possessing a firearm, except a peace officer in the performance of his or her duties; and
  • accepting directly, or indirectly anything of economic value, including reimbursement of costs, for the purpose of transporting a voter to an early voting location or polling place, or for driving or being in charge of any motor vehicle being used for such purpose (bus, taxi or licensed transportation are exempt).
View the Louisiana Election Code, Title 18 of Louisiana's revised statutes.
Federal law prohibits:
  • knowingly and willfully intimidating, threatening, coercing or attempting to intimidate, threaten or coerce any person for voting or urging or aiding any person to vote or attempting to vote in any election for federal office;
  • knowingly and willfully depriving, defrauding, or attempting to deprive or defraud the residents of Louisiana of a fair and impartially conducted election process by the procurement, casting or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious or fraudulent under the laws of the state of Louisiana in any election for federal office; and
  • conspiring to injure, oppress, threaten or intimidate any person in the free exercise or enjoyment of the right to vote or because of his or her having so exercised the right to vote.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended, prohibits racial or language minority discrimination in voting. To make a discrimination complaint under the Federal Voting Rights Act, contact:

Chief, Voting Section, Civil Rights Division
Room 7254-NWB
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20530

toll-free 800.253.3931
202.307.2767

To make a complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, contact:

Voting Rights Division, Department of Justice toll-free 800.514.0301 (option 7)
To report voting fraud, contact the Elections Division toll-free at 800.883.2805 or contact the nearest office of the FBI or your local U.S. Attorney's office.

To file a written notarized complaint with the elections division of the Louisisna Department of State, contact:

Commissioner of Elections
Department of State
P.O. Box 94125
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125
If you have further questions about voting by mail, please call your parish registrar of voters.