A House committee shoots down a proposal allowing all registered voters in Louisiana to vote by mail.

Vote by mail advocate and recent LSU grad Catherine McKinney says vote by mail is already an option for Louisiana college students, and that convenience should be expanded to the rest of the state.

“We were worried about our parents, our grandparents, our immunocompromised friends, and we wanted to make sure that they also had that option, the same option that you all had when you were passing the election plan,” says McKinney.

The legislation would have allowed all voters to request the Secretary of State’s office mail them a ballot. Voters would have to submit their license to file their vote.

The proposal ran into opposition from Republicans like Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges who says vote by mail is more prone to fraud than showing up at a booth.

“People showing up, people actually showing ID, is the easiest system to ensure voter integrity,” says Hodges.

But McKinney countered that actual voter fraud is incredibly rare under all voting systems in the state.

“There have been not only four confirmed cases in Louisiana in the last 15 years or so, but none of those cases have been with vote by mail,” says McKinney.

Voters in high-risk groups have expressed fear that polling locations could infect them with COVID, but Hodges says she is confident safety protocols can be written to prevent that.

“I believe our Secretary of State can find ways that we can do that so people can feel safe because it is a right and a privilege to be able to vote,” says Hodges.

(Story written by Matt Doyle/Louisiana Radio Network)