Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry (R) speaks during a session in the chamber of the state House of Representatives. (Michael Johnson/The Advocate via AP, Pool, File)

Disability Rights Louisiana filed suit this week challenging several state laws, arguing that they violate the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

The nonprofit is targeting two laws that make it a crime to help more than one person mail a mail-in ballot or absentee ballot application unless that person is mailing it on behalf of close family members. Those laws take effect Aug. 1.

The disability rights group argues that the laws violate Section 208 of the VRA, which states that voters with disabilities are entitled to assistance from “a person of their choice.”

“These laws have a direct impact on people with disabilities who vote by mail but do not have immediate family members who can help them mail their mail-in ballots,” the organization said in an email statement. “Staff of nursing or group home facilities now face criminal penalties if they drop more than one mail-in ballot in the mailbox on behalf of their patients.”

In addition, the lawsuit is directed against two other laws that, as of July 1, 2025, will make it a criminal offense to act as a witness in more than one absentee ballot if the voter is not working directly with the family member. In Louisiana, absentee ballots must be certified in order to be counted.

“These laws unnecessarily restrict people with disabilities, who are among the most vulnerable populations in Louisiana, from voting,” Melanie Bray, attorney for Disability Rights Louisiana, said in an email statement. “We believe this challenge to these laws is necessary to protect those votes and ensure they have equal access to voting.”

Read the complaint here.

Learn more about the case here.

For more information on voter accessibility, click here.

Previous update, June 25

Louisiana Republican Governor Jeff Landry signed two more voter suppression laws that will limit voter assistance and make it harder for people to conduct voter registration campaigns.

Beginning August 1, House Bill 506 will require individuals and businesses to register with the Secretary of State before conducting voter registration drives, with the exception of certain election officials and those conducting electronic voter registration drives.

The law also classifies certain acts as crimes. These include filling out information on another person's voter registration application without that person providing voter assistance as required by law.

Starting July 1, 2025, House Bill 581 will make it a crime for non-immediate family members to serve as witnesses for more than one absentee ballot. Witnesses must also be 18 years old and provide their mailing address on the absentee ballot certificate.

This law could make it more difficult for voters with disabilities to participate in elections – a problem that is also reflected in the laws of many other states, such as Wisconsin and California.

Landry passed several other voter suppression bills last month, all of which were part of the State Department's election integrity legislative package.

Previous update, June 17

Louisiana Republican Governor Jeff Landry signed legislation last week requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration and establishing procedures for removing people from voter rolls.

Beginning January 1, 2025, Senate Bill 436 will require voters to include proof of citizenship with their voter registration applications. Not only would this exclude noncitizens from voting, but it could also exclude numerous eligible voters who do not have access to proof of citizenship from voting.

In fact, one in ten eligible Americans does not have easy access to these documents, according to a new survey. Minority voters are the most affected, according to the survey.

The impact of this law will be felt on a large scale in the 2026 midterm elections, as many eligible voters may not be able to participate in the polls and voter registration rates may decline.

In addition, under the status quo, the registrar of voters in each county under the authority of the Secretary of State is required to conduct an annual survey of registered voters to update voter registration records no later than June 30. If a voter's address cannot be verified, the registrar of voters must send the voter an address confirmation and place his or her name on the inactive voter list.

Beginning March 31, 2025, under House Bill 114, the Secretary of State will also be required to identify registered voters who have not corrected their address and who have not voted in an election, updated their registration information, or taken other specified actions in the past 10 years. The Secretary of State will then be required to send them an address verification and remove them from the voter rolls.

Several right-wing organizations, such as the Public Interest Legal Fund (PILF), have filed lawsuits in several states across the country to have people removed from the voter rolls, which could lead to the disenfranchisement of numerous eligible voters.

Landry's signing of these two new bills on June 11 followed the passage of seven other voter suppression bills in the state last month.

Original post, June 4

Louisiana's Republican governor, Jeff Landry, has signed seven anti-election bills in recent weeks, with four more awaiting his signature.

Louisiana Republican Secretary of State Nancy Landry released a statement on Monday thanking the governor and state lawmakers for introducing and passing the bills in the “Department of State Election Integrity Legislation Package.”

She said these bills “will help Louisiana continue on its path to ranking first in the nation in election integrity.”

On May 24, Governor Landry signed House Bill 285, which requires the Secretary of State's office to establish an Election Integrity Division to perform numerous tasks, including “conducting independent investigations into allegations of election irregularities.”

On May 28, he then signed six more election-related bills, including four dealing with mail-in voting.

House Bill 476 prohibits citizens from mailing more than one absentee ballot unless they are mailing the ballot on behalf of close family members. Representative Wilford Carter (D) of Louisiana called it a “voter suppression bill” in the House.

Senate Bill 155 allows individuals to assist with more than one absentee ballot only if they are assisting immediate family members.

Senate Bill 218 requires a person assisting a voter to provide their address and relationship to the voter and disclose whether they were paid for their assistance. It also requires that someone can only submit more than one absentee ballot request if they are applying for one or more immediate family members.

Disability rights activists have filed lawsuits against similar laws in other states, such as Ohio and Mississippi, arguing that these provisions make it more difficult for people with disabilities who cannot mail or fill out their ballots themselves to exercise their right to vote.

Under Senate Bill 226, an absentee ballot that is missing information and has not been corrected by the voter is considered a contested vote and will not be counted unless a majority of the Board of Elections so decides.

The other two bills signed on May 28 address different election issues. Senate Bill 449 defines a qualified voter or elector as “a person who meets the requirements prescribed by law to vote and is lawfully registered to vote,” and Senate Bill 101 prohibits ranked-choice voting in Louisiana elections.

Then on Sunday, the Senate officially passed two bills: House Bill 506, which requires individuals and businesses to register with the Secretary of State before conducting voter registration drives, and House Bill 581, which makes it a criminal offense to serve as a witness in more than one absentee ballot if the candidate is not an immediate family member and requires witnesses to provide their mailing address.

In recent days, two bills have been introduced to the governor, including House Bill 114, which creates new procedures for maintaining active voter rolls and sets out the conditions under which individuals can be removed from the voter rolls.

Numerous right-wing groups, such as the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), have brought to the forefront the discussion of states failing to properly maintain their voter rolls. PILF and others have filed lawsuits in numerous states to remove individuals from their voter rolls, which could disenfranchise numerous voters.

The other bill that went to Governor Landry this week is Senate Bill 436, which would require individuals to provide proof of citizenship for voter registration.

Last month, Republicans in Congress introduced a bill to require federal citizenship certification. Legislation like this would not only prevent noncitizens from voting in federal elections – something they are already barred from doing – but would also create hurdles for eligible voters who do not have photo ID or access to documents proving their citizenship – often members of minority groups.

In her statement Monday, Secretary Landry said she wants to ensure the remaining four bills are signed so “we can continue our work to make Louisiana's elections the safest in the country.”

The Democratic Caucus of the Louisiana House of Representatives did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

Read the Foreign Minister’s statement here.

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