Due to continuing weather conditions, the Secretary of State's Office will remain closed tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 18. The office is scheduled to re-open Friday, Jan. 19. For a complete listing of state closures, visit www.la.gov.
Due to tomorrow's continued office closure, the in person/mail voter registration deadline will be extended through Friday, Jan. 19 for TANGIPAHOA PARISH only.

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Frequently Asked Questions Before an Election

To learn what happens after an election, view Frequently Asked Questions After an Election.

Purchase a  voter list online. 
View qualifications for public offices.
A qualified elector may bring a court action objecting to the candidacy of a person who qualified as a candidate in a primary election for an office in which the plaintiff is qualified to vote. See La R.S. 14:1401-1453.
The Louisiana Election Code, La R.S. 18:1401-1453, provides for the laws on contests and challenges to candidates qualifications and elections. Also,  La R.S. 18:491 provides for a registered voter to present evidence that a candidate has illegally qualified for elective office to the district attorney. See also La R.S. 18:491-495 regarding filing a complaint with the district attorney to investigate and file a contest suit.
An action objecting to candidacy shall be instituted not later than 4:30 p.m. of the 7th day after the close of qualifications for candidates in the primary election. After the expiration of this time period, no further action shall be allowed objecting to candidacy based on the grounds contained in La R.S. 18:492.

The grounds contained in La R.S. 18:492 include:

  • the defendant failed to qualify for the primary election in the manner prescribed by law;
  • the defendant failed to qualify for the primary election within the time prescribed by law;
  • the defendant does not meet the qualifications for the office he seeks in the primary election;
  • the defendant is prohibited by law from becoming a candidate for one or more of the offices for which he qualified;
  • the defendant falsely certified on his notice of candidacy that he does not owe any outstanding fines, fees, or penalties pursuant to the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act as provided in La R.S. 18:463(A)(2);
  • the defendant falsely certified on his notice of candidacy that he does not owe any outstanding fines, fees, or penalties pursuant to the Code of Governmental Ethics as provided in La R.S. 18:463(A)(2); or
  • the defendant falsely certified on his notice of candidacy that for each of the previous five tax years he has filed his federal and state income tax returns, has filed for an extension of time for filing either his federal or state income tax return or both as provided in La R.S. 18:463(A)(2), or was not required to file either a federal or state income tax return or both.
View information on absentee-by-mail and early voting.
The registrar is required to keep and post a list daily containing the names of all persons who vote during the early voting period or who return an absentee ballot by mail. After the last day for early voting, the list is prepared alphabetically by precinct. 

A list of who voted absentee or early may also be purchased online
A request to vote absentee by mail is protected and not subject to a public records request. 
Yes.  At the time of qualifying, the clerk of court is required to notify each candidate to contact the registrar of voters for the time and place when early voting machines will be prepared for early voting. A candidate or his representative may be present to observe the preparation of the machines by the registrar of voters with the assistance of the secretary of state's technicians and to observe the testing and sealing of the machines by the registrar of voters in the presence of the parish board of election supervisors. Each candidate or his representative shall be afforded a reasonable opportunity to view the test vote tape for each machine to see that they are in the proper condition for use in the election, which opportunity shall not be less than 30 minutes beginning at the time designed by the registrar to begin the process.  However, no one may interfere with the election officials in the performance of their duties. After examination, the parish board of election supervisors is required to generate a zero tally on each machine to ensure that the machine’s public counter is set at zero and that no votes have been cast on the machine and then the registrar seals the machine.
Early voting is held at each parish registrar of voters office and in additional locations in some parishes.
A candidate or his representative, a member of the parish board of election supervisors, or a qualified elector may file a challenge to an early voter or an absentee by mail voter for the following reasons:
  • the applicant is not qualified to vote in the election;
  • the applicant is not qualified to vote in the precinct; 
  • the applicant is not the person whose name is shown on the precinct register; or
  • the applicant signed a Voter Identification Affidavit in lieu of providing a photo ID for identification before voting.

These challenges MUST be filed no later than the 4th day before the election. A challenge is to be filed personally with the registrar of voters on a form in the registrar’s office that is provided by the secretary of state. An objection to the qualifications of a voter or to an irregularity in the conduct of the election is deemed waived if it could have been and was not properly raised.

A challenge for cause for any other ground may be filed with the parish board of election supervisors during the counting on election day on a form that is provided by the secretary of state and available at the counting.

All challenges are determined by majority vote of the parish board of election supervisors during the counting.

Commissioners who are trained and commissioned by the clerk of court are responsible for the operations at the polling place on election day. After the commissioners take their oath, in the presence of the watchers (if any), they prepare the polling place for voting by comparing the voting machine serial numbers on the machines with the numbers on the key envelope to make sure they match. They also compare the protective counter numbers on the key envelope with the protective counter numbers on the machines. Then they open the key envelope and open the door of each voting machine and cause them to produce a zero proof sheet to determine that each counter on each machine is set at zero. They sign and certify to the correctness of each zero proof sheet and post it within the polling place.
Each candidate is entitled to have one commissioned watcher and alternate watcher at every precinct where his name is on the ballot.  A watcher and alternate watcher may not serve at the same time.  Each candidate also is entitled to one super watcher who may enter every precinct where the candidate is on the ballot, even if a watcher or alternate watcher is serving in the precinct. For more information, review the Poll Watcher Handbook.
The legislature of Louisiana enacted a 600 foot campaign free zone from the entrance of any polling place from the hours of 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. The only exception is for campaign signs on private property.This law applies to early voting locations as well.

The legislature wrote the following public policy statement in the law: “The Legislature of Louisiana recognized that the right to vote is a right that is essential to the effective operation of a democratic government. Due to a past, longstanding history of election problems, such as multiple voting, votes being recorded for persons who did not vote, votes being recorded for deceased persons, voting by non-residents, vote buying, and voter intimidation, the legislature finds that the state has a compelling interest in securing a person’s right to vote in an environment which is free from intimidation, harassment, confusion, obstruction, and undue influence. The legislature, therefore, enacts this Subsection to provide for a six hundred foot campaign-free zone around polling places to provide to each voter such an environment in which to exercise his right to vote.”  (La R.S. 18:1462)

The Informational Pamphlet for Election Day Voting provides step by step instructions for election day commissioners.
A voter is required to give his name and address to a commissioner to be announced for voting. The commissioners are required to identify every applicant and require them to submit a photo ID or sign an affidavit after answering questions that allow the commissioners to properly verify the voter before being allowed to vote.
Review information for disabled and elderly citizens.
If a voter is inactive in the statewide voter registration database, then their registration information was not verified by the registrar during the annual canvass of voters and must be verified on election day before voting. These voters simply complete an Address Confirmation Card – Election Day form and are allowed to vote, unless they moved to an address outside of the parish or state more than 3 months before the election.
The commissioner should look for a voter in the precinct register and the supplemental precinct register, if one.  A voter may be registered under a maiden or married name and the commissioner should ask and look for both. A voter may be in the wrong precinct. 

A commissioner may also contact the registrar of voters or the secretary of state for assistance and to confirm that no error has been made in the precinct register. If an error has been made, the commissioner will complete a Precinct Register Correction form and have the voter sign it and then allow the voter to vote. 

If no error and it is a federal election, the person may vote a provisional ballot. 
A voter must live in the jurisdiction of the race that the candidate is running in to be able to vote on the race/candidate.  However, the voter or candidate can contact the clerk of court’s office immediately to allow the clerk to confirm with all election officials as to whether or not the jurisdiction of the election is valid and/or whether the election officials are properly performing their duties at the polling place in setting up the voting machine.
A voter may be challenged on election day by a commissioner, watcher or qualified voter before voting on any of the following grounds:
  • not qualified to vote in the election;
  • not qualified to vote in the precinct; 
  • not the person whose name is shown on the precinct register; or
  • no photo ID and voting after completing a Voter Identification Affidavit.
There is a form at the polling place to be completed when challenging a voter. An objection to the qualifications of a voter or to an irregularity in the conduct of the election is deemed waived if with the exercise of due diligence it could have been raised by a challenge of the voter or objections at the polls to the procedure.
A majority of the commissioners must determine whether the challenge is valid or invalid. If valid, the applicant is not allowed to vote.  If the commissioners determine that the challenge is invalid, the applicant is allowed to vote.

The Election Day Bill of Rights outlines the rights and responsibilities of Louisiana voters and lists prohibited activities under state law and federal law.

During early voting, the registrar of voters may enforce the election laws and may use law enforcement officers to maintain order at any location where early voting is conducted. They are authorized to verbally order a person to leave the premises after voting and may remove political signs on public property within the 600 foot campaign free zone.

On Election Day, the commissioners may enforce the election laws. They are authorized to verbally order a person to leave the premises after voting and may call law enforcement to preserve order and enforce the election laws. They may remove political signs on public property within the 600 foot campaign free zone.

Contact the Elections Compliance Unit for more information on reporting election irregularities.