Early voting is now underway across Louisiana for the November 3rd election.
In Lafayette Parish, these are the first votes with expanded early voting locations in the parish.
On the southside, Lafayette Parish voters can cast their ballots at the East Regional Library. The line was out the doors, but we're told it moved quickly. Earlier this year, the Lafayette City and Parish Councils approved an ordinance to create this location.
The councils also approved the Martin Luther King Center as an early voting site. City Councilman Pat Lewis said this has been in the works for more than a year and believes it is important people have easy access to early voting.
"It's jam packed and this is what it's all about. People have a right to vote and they're showing it's their right and their voice needs to be heard. A lot of people fought for them to be heard," Lewis said.
Merlin Clark said typically he waits to vote on Election Day, but this year, he wanted to make sure he could cast his ballot on the first day of early voting.
"This is so important, I wanted to get it done early," Clark said.
Thousand of other voters across Lafayette Parish fell the same way and believe it's easier to early vote rather than waiting in longer lines on November 3rd.
Devon Norman said, "I'm encouraged to see that people are motivated to vote and be part of this process."
Rebecca Gondron said, "I think on the third, it's going to be rather hectic at the polls. I think this is a wonderful idea and everything is going smoothly."
Senator Gerald Boudreaux said, "I think every voice needs to be heard and this is our opportunity to do it."
This year the lines look a little different because of the pandemic. People are wearing their masks and social distancing as much as possible. Once inside polling locations, there are hand sanitizing stations, markers on the floor showing where to stand and voters can get finger coverings to avoid your bare skin touching the machines.
Frank Fasone said, "They're wiping the pens down after you use them, they're wiping the machines down and just 100% doing a great job."
One voter though believes although there are COVID-19 precautions in place, gathering to vote is risky.
"We are in 2020 and I think everyone could have mailed in their ballots," Norman said.
After you vote, if you're looking for one of those iconic "I voted" stickers, you're not going to get one this year because of the pandemic.
Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin announced a digital, downloadable sticker for the upcoming elections.
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