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Louisiana GOP lawmakers block plan to expand early voting

BATON ROUGE, La. — Republican state senators blocked an emergency plan to expand early voting and mail-in balloting options for Louisiana’s July presidential primary, raising objections to wider use of vote-by-mail options for people worried about the risk of exposure to the coronavirus in one of the nation’s larger outbreaks.

GOP Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin ran into a wall of opposition from his fellow Republicans — including objections from the state Republican Party — for his proposal. A Senate committee packed with Republicans rejected an emergency certification that Ardoin needed to move ahead with the changes to polling places, early voting timelines and absentee-by-mail voting eligibility.

The vote’s impact on the election is uncertain. Senators suggested Ardoin should make changes and return with a new proposal, but Ardoin warned he wasn’t certain he could negotiate a redesigned plan in time to order the supplies he would need to conduct a safe election, such as additional voting equipment and protective gear for poll workers.