Voters in Louisiana will show identification Nov. 6 to cast ballots for president and on local issues. And they’ll do it without the controversy kicked up by new voter ID requirements around the country. Republicans say new laws that require voters to show state-issued photo ID guard the election system’s integrity. Democrats say the requirements discourage low-income people and minorities from voting. “Louisiana falls in the middle, and for right now, it does seem like a good, moderate approach,” said Ryan Teten, a Ph.D. in political science who teaches about campaigns and elections at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler said Louisiana residents may vote without presenting a photo ID. Voters who either don’t have a photo ID or lost a driver’s license may sign an affidavit on Election Day with an on-site election commissioner, and then vote. “Most people come in with a photo ID, and that’s the end of it,” Schedler said. “The magic wand that Louisiana has over these other states with voter ID laws is that we think we hit a middle-ground approach to it.”
After the 2008 presidential election, Schedler’s office found an average of 23 voters in each of the state’s parishes used the affidavit rather than a photo ID to cast a ballot. Charlene Menard, registrar of voters for Lafayette Parish, said Office of Motor Vehicles locations will provide any Louisiana resident with a free photo ID that may be used to vote.