Key deadlines approaching for Louisiana special congressional elections
Key deadlines are approaching for voters who want to cast ballots in Louisiana's March 20 election, where two congressional seats are up for grabs as well as a spot on the state school board, 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal and a host of local races.
The deadline to register to vote in person or by mail is Wednesday with early voting less than three weeks away.
Special elections for the 2nd Congressional District with New Orleans as the population hub and the rambling 24-parish 5th Congressional with Monroe and Alexandria as the population centers top the marquee.
The 2nd Congressional District came open when longtime former Congressman Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, gave up his seat to join President Joe Biden's senior leadership team.
State Sens. Troy Carter and Karen Carter Peterson, both Democrats from New Orleans, Democratic activist Gary Chambers Jr. of Baton Rouge and state Republican Party-backed Claston Bernard are considered the leading contenders in the 2nd District race.
The 5th Congressional District came open after Congressman-elect Luke Letlow, R-Start, died from COVID-19 complications in December before taking office.
Letlow's wife Julia, R-Start, and Alexandria Democrat Sandra "Candy Christophe" are considered the top contenders in the 5th District race.
Among the other top races: northwestern Louisiana's District 4 Board of Elementary and Secondary Education seat; and a special election for the 82nd District state representative seat in the New Orleans area.
Following are notable dates and deadlines for the March 20 election:
► The deadline to register to vote in person or by mail is Feb. 17.
► The deadline to register to vote through the GeauxVote Online Registration System is Feb. 27.
► Early voting is March 6-13 (excluding Sunday, March 7) from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
► The deadline to request an absentee by mail ballot is March 16 by 4:30 p.m. You can request an absentee by mail ballot online through the state Voter Portal or in writing through your Registrar of Voters Office (other than military and overseas voters).
► The deadline for a registrar of voters to receive a voted mail ballot is March 19 by 4:30 p.m. (other than military and overseas voters).
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.