Louisiana reconsiders election day plans as Hurricane Zeta kills six and closes polls in Florida and Georgia

Gino Spocchia
·2-min read
Early voters line up in Virginia, which saw the tail-end of Hurricane Zeta (REUTERS)
Early voters line up in Virginia, which saw the tail-end of Hurricane Zeta (REUTERS)

Authorities in Louisiana are working to determine how many polling stations may shut following Hurricane Zeta, which stopped early voting taking place in Florida and Georgia.

The storm, which passed over New Orleans as a Category 2, shut schools and businesses across southeast Louisiana, and left many without power on Thursday.

State officials are now working to determine how many polling places may have been affected by Hurricane Zeta, with fears around voter confusion on Election Day.

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards said it was “too early to know for sure” whether the storm had caused changes to Election Day polling sites.  

“As we get closer to Tuesday, obviously a determination is going to have to be made whether they’re going to be able to power those locations back up or not,” said Mr Edwards, a Democrat.

Officials said alternative polling sites might have to be arranged, with Kyke Ardoin, Lousiania’s secretary of state, adding that plans would come within 48 hours.

In a press release seen by New Orleans Public Radio, Mr Ardoin’s office said officials were assessing the damage to election infrastructure and that more information would come “over the next 24-48 hours”.

“Power outages remain the most widespread challenge and we are working with Entergy and other utility companies to assess and restore power to our election infrastructure,” Mr Ardoin said.

CNN reported that more than two million customers had been left without power across Louisiana, Florida and Georgia, as Hurricane Zeta moved inland.

A number of polling stations in northern Florida and northern Georgia lost power on Thursday, the Associated Press reported, with all six Douglas County polling locations without power in Atlanta.

In Georgia, where polls show a tight race between president Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, there were no plans to change polling locations, reported Forbes.

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