Winn Parish Registrar of Voters Speaks to Rotary

With National Voter Registration Week coming up the first of October, the Rotary program of
September 21, 2022, presented by Rotarian of the Week and Winn Parish Registrar of Voters, Bryan
Kelley, educated Rotarians on the timely topic of voter registration, the upcoming mid-term election
scheduled for November 8, 2022 and the development of the plan to obtain a new voting system
recently mandated by the Louisiana legislature in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

Mr. Kelley discussed the various methods of registering to vote in Louisiana. One can register in
person at the local Registrar of Voters office, by presenting a current official photo identification of
some type bearing his/her current address. If the ID is expired or has an incorrect address, one may still
register to vote by presenting his/her birth certificate and a document showing proof of residence such
as a utility bill. One may also go online to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website and register to vote.
Voters may also update their information on the website.

Citizens may register to vote by mailing in a completed voter registration form to the Secretary
of State, by completing the form at the Office of Motor Vehicles and/or various public assistance offices,
and at schools, which make computers available for those 16 + years old to register. Those who register
at school or at the OMV may register before they turn 18 and begin voting on their 18 th birthday.

One must be registered to vote at least 30 days before the next election if registration is done in
person. With the upcoming election, the deadline to register at the Registrar of Voters is October 11,
2022. This allows time for the state to verify the authenticity of the documents proving citizenship and
residency between registration and election. If one registers online, the state performs the verification
at the time of registration, so one may register to vote up to October 18, 2022 and vote in the
November election.

People may apply to vote by mail for medical reasons or because they are over the age of 65.
Mail-in ballots are sent to the local ROV office by the Secretary of State, and must be mailed to the local
voters when received by the ROV. Voters over age 65 will automatically continue to receive a mail
ballot, but those under age 65 must apply to vote by mail each time. The deadline to apply to vote by
mail in the upcoming election is November 3.

Early voting for the election on November 8 will be held from October 25 to November 1 from
8:30 am to 6:00 pm at the ROV office in the courthouse. Schools will be closed for election day on
Tuesday, November 8, 2022.

The ballot measures on which we will vote November 8, 2022 include both our U. S. Senator and
U. S. Representative. The incumbents, Sen. John Kennedy and Julia Letlow, have several opponents each
in this round of voting. School board members will be elected parish-wide, Calvin will elect a mayor, and
Dodson will elect a chief of police and aldermen.

A measure specific to Winnfield which will be on the ballot this election cycle is a renewal of the
city’s 1-1/2 cent sales tax.

Eight Louisiana Constitution amendment proposals will also be on the ballot. You may review
the proposed amendments on the sample ballots which have been posted in the courthouse hallway
outside near the Registrar of Voters office. The Geaux Vote section of the Secretary of State’s website
has a summary of each proposed amendment, but does not yet have the full texts. The Public Affairs
Research Council’s guide, which includes an explanation of each amendment and its expected
consequences as well as a recommendation by the Council, will be issued in a couple of weeks with
respect to the proposed amendments on the November 8 ballot.

If you download the Geaux Vote application from the Secretary of State website, you can not
only quickly access your individual sample ballot but can follow election results on the app on election
night as votes are posted by the SOS office.

Mr. Kelley reported on the progress of the Voting System Committee appointed to select a new
voting system for the State of Louisiana. This committee was appointed as a result of the legislation
passed after the election in November 2020 to require a voting system with an auditable paper trail of
each vote. According to Bryan, the current voting system is becoming obsolete because the hardware
needed to repair it is no longer being manufactured, and any machine which breaks down now is likely
irreparable, so they would have to be replaced with some other system soon anyway.

The committee issued its recommendations as to the type of system we should have in June,
and the Secretary of State’s office is in the process of preparing a Request for Proposal to be submitted
to manufacturers of voting machines, and it should be issued sometime in early 2023. This will be the
third of 23 steps required to obtain and implement a new voting system statewide.

According to Mr. Kelley, the new system must use hand-marking paper ballots or a ballot-
marking device, due to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or a combination of the
two. It will also likely involve printing of ballots to preserve the paper trail and scanning of ballots to
eliminate hand-counting of ballots. With 21 more steps to go in the process of obtaining and
implementing a new voting system, it will be a few years before we see new voting machines in our

After Mr. Kelley answered questions from the audience, the meeting was adjourned with the
Rotary motto, “Service above Self!”