2018 Louisiana Laws
TITLE 18 - Louisiana Election Code
RS 18:401.1 - Election emergency; purpose; elections emergency contingency plan
§401.1. Election emergency; purpose; elections emergency contingency plan
A. Due to the possibility of an emergency or common disaster occurring before or during a regularly scheduled or special election, and in order to ensure maximum citizen participation in the electoral process and provide a safe and orderly procedure for persons seeking to qualify or exercise their right to vote, to minimize to whatever degree possible a person's exposure to danger during declared states of emergency, and to protect the integrity of the electoral process, it is hereby found and declared to be necessary to designate a procedure for the emergency suspension or delay and rescheduling of qualifying, early voting, and elections.
B. The governor may, upon issuance of an executive order declaring a state of emergency or impending emergency, suspend or delay any qualifying of candidates, early voting, or elections. The governor shall take such action only upon the certification of the secretary of state that a state of emergency exists. A clerk of court, as the chief election officer of the parish, may bring to the attention of the secretary of state any difficulties occurring in his parish due to natural disasters.
C. If any delays or suspensions are authorized by the governor, the delayed qualifying, early voting or election day voting shall resume or be rescheduled as soon thereafter as is practicable. In the event the voting on election day is delayed or suspended and early voting has been completed prior to the issuance of the executive order delaying or suspending election day voting, early voting for the rescheduled election day may be reopened upon authorization of the governor for a reasonable time prior to the new election date. Notice of the delay or suspension and rescheduling of the election day or early voting shall be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the affected area if time permits and, where practicable, broadcast as a public service announcement on radio and television stations, or by any other means of communication available at that time.
D.(1) As soon as possible following an emergency, the clerk of court shall identify the number of polling places that are functional and the number of polling places that have been destroyed. If a polling place is destroyed, inaccessible, or unsafe, efforts should be made to work with federal, state, and local emergency management agencies to permit the orderly establishment of a new polling place. An alternate emergency location shall be designated by the parish clerk of court in conjunction with the local parish governing authority, represented by its presiding officer, and advertised by any means available.
(2) The clerk of court in conjunction with the secretary of state shall coordinate with local police and the National Guard in an effort to provide security for existing polling places, including securing salvageable voting equipment from destroyed or damaged polling places to prevent further damage and looting.
E. If an election is rescheduled involving a multiparish or statewide office, every effort should be made to withhold returns for the affected races until the affected parishes have conducted rescheduled elections and are able to certify returns to the secretary of state.
F. Computation of all time intervals in the electoral process affected by any delay or suspension shall be redesignated by the secretary of state. Notice thereof shall be disseminated to parish boards of election supervisors as expediently as possible by any means available.
G. Nothing in this Section shall be interpreted as extending or as an extension of the time period for an election.
Acts 1997, No. 1420, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 2001, No. 451, §6, eff. Jan. 12, 2004; Acts 2003, No. 1220, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2004; Acts 2005, No. 220, §4, eff. Jan. 1, 2006.