The Louisiana Senate voted 11-24 Tuesday (March 29) against legislation that would have made it easier to vote by mail. Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, brought Senate Bill 164 to allow anyone to vote by mail. Under current law, people must meet certain criteria to vote absentee. There was no discussion about the proposal on the Senate floor before it was rejected, but the vote broke down along party lines. All 11 senators who voted to expand absentee voting were Democrats. Every Republican either opposed the bill or was absent from the vote. Peterson is the head of the Louisiana Democratic Party.
The cost of the bill might have been a concern for some legislators. Secretary of State Tom Schedler estimated the cost of every absentee ballot would be over $1 more if the legislation became law. Louisiana is facing a $750 million deficit in the next year, which is making lawmakers sensitive to passing any bill that costs the state more money.