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Voter registration drives continue each Saturday in September

LAPLACE — Since starting the nonprofit Every Vote Counts last year, Georgia Keller has helped more than 150 locals exercise their Constitutional right to vote.

Every Vote Counts will be holding a voter registration drive from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday in September, beginning today, Sept. 5. Each week’s voter registration drive will be held at the Choice Marketplace at 1005 Cambridge Drive, the site of the old Airline Skating Rink.

Keller said individuals must bring a driver’s license or an identification card to register to vote or to update their information in advance of the Nov. 3 election.

“It’s important because voting is a right and we had people who died for us to have the right to vote. I think it’s very important for everyone to exercise their right,” Keller said.

Volunteers are needed, and those interested in participating can call Keller at 504-275-0052.

“We also will be making house calls if there’s any elderly people or people with compromised immune systems. If they can’t come out due to COVID, we will come to them and do it,” Keller said.

                          Georgia Keller

Russell Jack, registrar of voters for St. John the Baptist Parish, wants the public to be aware that questions over an individual’s address could lead to them being placed on the inactive voters list. However, this does not mean they are ineligible to vote; it only means that they have inactive information in the state system.

An individual who moves addresses or changes his or her address with the DMV or on income tax paperwork could end up on the inactive voters.

“When we don’t have any documentation on their updated information, then they may end up on the list,” Jack said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that your information is inaccurate. There’s just a question by it. Once you fill out the proper documentation, then we list you in the computer as active.”

Alternatively, a person who has not voted for a number of years can end up on the inactive list. Individuals can search for their name on the inactive voters list online at https://voterportal.sos.la.gov/inactivevoters.

Jack urges any resident with questions over their voting status to contact the St. John Registrar of Voters at 985-652-9797 (East Bank Office) or 985-497-8836 (West Bank Office).

The East Bank Office is located at in the Parish Government Complex at 1811 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace. The West Bank Office is located in the Edgard Courthouse at 2393 Highway 18. Information on polling locations, absentee voting, registration and more is available online at http://sjbparish.com/government_general.php?id=447.

“We’re trying to make an impact by doing everything we can to make things more pleasant and convenient for this election. We’re doing our part to make it easier for the residents in St. John this year as far as early voting, lines and social distancing,” Jack said. “If anyone wants to have a voice in their community, the best and most effective way to express themselves is by voting.”

According to Jack, the state is still finalizing deadlines for the November 2020 election. It has not yet been determined how mail-in voting will be factored into this election.

Absentee (mail-in) voting has traditionally been available for residents who are disabled, age 65 or older, or have other extenuating circumstances that would make it impossible to vote in person. There was more leeway in these guidelines during the recent July 2020 election due to COVID-19 precautions, according to Jack.

He reminds anyone casting a mail-in ballot this November to ensure they have provided all information required by the state.

“We have an instruction sheet for the mail-in votes. If you do not have a signature or a witness signature, your vote will not be counted. It’s state law,” Jack said.

For more information, please contact the St. John Registrar of Voters.