Clerk of Court Lynn Jones stated that election agencies have been meeting daily to make contingency plans since hurricane Laura hit nearly a month ago. The Clerk’s office is in constant communication with the Secretary of State’s office as well as the office of Calcasieu Registrar of Voters.
Jones said “Due to the massive destruction Hurricane Laura caused throughout Calcasieu parish, immediate plans had to be put in place to secure early voting and election day voting sites. Because nearly 70% of polling locations will be relocated, there will be significant changes to where voters will be casting their ballots. Many will be consolidated into mega sites which will include facilities such as the Lake Charles Civic Center, Burton Coliseum, the West Cal Center in Sulphur as well as several churches and other facilities, while some precincts will be moved to existing precincts that have the space to accommodate them. DeQuincy, Vinton, Westlake, Starks, Moss Bluff, Carlyss, Iowa, and surrounding areas will still be voting in or near their communities, but several precinct locations will be relocated due to heavy damage.”
Specific information regarding these changes will be made available soon, once plans are finalized. Also, a major multimedia publicity campaign coordinated with the Secretary of State’s office will help inform voters of these changes.
“Our office is in desperate need of polling commissioners, as many poll commissioners were forced to relocate or are unable to work the upcoming election. By consolidating precincts, election commissioners and commissioners-in-charge can simultaneously assist multiple precincts necessitating fewer commissioners to facilitate an election if full staffing is not achievable. In anticipation of the election worker shortage, we are asking anyone that may be interested in becoming a commissioner to call 337-437- 3558 ext.123 or 144.
Jones concluded, “2020 has presented challenges unlike any we have ever seen, not only do we have to deal with the aftermath of hurricane Laura, but we also have to administer an election with all the safety protocols for the Covid-19 emergency. While there may be inconveniences due to these emergency scenarios, our main goal is to administer a safe and successful election. We are working tirelessly to afford every registered voter in Calcasieu Parish the assurance that they will have the opportunity to exercise the right to vote – whether by casting a ballot during the early voting process or on Election Day.”