State officials address voting issues, technology changes - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

State officials address voting issues, technology changes

Sectary of State officials addressing a house committee. (Source: Leah Ellsworth/WAFB) Sectary of State officials addressing a house committee. (Source: Leah Ellsworth/WAFB)
House committee discussing voting issues. (Source: Leah Ellsworth/WAFB) House committee discussing voting issues. (Source: Leah Ellsworth/WAFB)
(Source: Secretary of State) (Source: Secretary of State)
(Source: Secretary of State) (Source: Secretary of State)
(Source: Secretary of State) (Source: Secretary of State)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

Voting in the state of Louisiana could be changing in the next three to five years.

The machines that are in use now are becoming a thing of the past. Officials are having to use parts from older machines to keep some of the current machines running. The Secretary of State's office said that Louisiana needs to move to voting via tablets in the near future.

Technology is on their radar, but so is addressing problems with the current voting system.

"The participation of voters is weak," Schedler said Wednesday before a house committee.

He said registering voters is no issue, but getting people back to take part in the process is a problem, particularly among the 18-26 year old crowd.

He added the more opportunities people have to vote, be it early voting or by absentee, the turnout has decreased.

There's also an issue spending dollars on emergency elections. For example, he said when areas put tax renewals or new tax issues on the ballot and they get voted down, six months later those same entities want to put the proposals back on the ballot.

Those types of elections end up costing the state in non-budgeted money.

Schedler broke down some of the costs saying that special elections to fill vacant seats for four representatives cost $242,000, a special election for the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will cost $426,000 and a presidential preference election will cost 3.5 million dollars.

"Where can you save money in the Secretary of State's office? I said elections, have less of them," Schedler said.

It's not all bad news though. If his office can buy new technology for voting, it could save money. The voting machines currently being used cost about $52,000 a piece. Moving to tablets would drop the cost to $300 each.

Schedler is also looking at ways to make voting access easier with express voting. If you happen to be in another area of the state on a day when your home parish is having an election, there would be a place where you could use a voting card and pull up that ballot and still vote on that election.

That could also potentially help fix the problem with slacking voter participation.

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