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Voting in New Orleans: What you need to do to prepare for election day

When to vote, how to get there, and what to bring

Voting for the 2016 General Election starts in less than 24 hours. Here’s a handy guide to assist you with the life hacks needed to make this year’s voting cycle less hectic.

When to vote:

Louisiana is one of the few states that does not have a specific law that requires time off from work to vote. However, many businesses may be lenient and may give workers necessary time to vote.

In the city of New Orleans, polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Election Day.

If you weren’t one of the roughly 49,000 people in New Orleans to vote early this year (which is a record for the city), than you may have to stand in line.

You’ll need to come with a driver’s license or Louisiana ID, otherwise you’ll need some other verifiable identification with a photo and signature on Election day. If this is your first election as a transplant in New Orleans, any state driver’s license should be suitable, as long as you’re registered to vote.

If you don’t know the status of your voter’s registration, you can check here.

How to vote:

  1. Find your polling station. Finding your polling station is easy. The Secretary of State website has a portal you can access to view your registration, which includes your assigned polling location. If you’re quick to forget, or want to have the information on the go, check out the Louisiana Secretary of State Geaux Vote application.
  2. Take advantage of ride-sharing. Lyft is offering 45 percent discounts on a one-way ride during Election Day in New Orleans, according to The Verge. While the discount is valid to go just about anywhere, it might come in handy if parking is a concern at your polling place. Users will have to pay full-price if they chose to ride back using the service.
  3. Avoid political clothing and signs while voting. State law prohibits any sort of electioneering near polling stations. To prevent any issue, leave all campaign-inspired t-shirts, buttons, bobbleheads, and banners at home (or in your car), or you may be asked to leave the site.
  4. Don’t Photograph your ballot. While sharing choices may be fun, it’s illegal in Louisiana. According to code 1461.7 in the State of Louisiana Election Code, a ballot is to remain private. Penalties include $500 or up to 6 months in jail. And this also includes taking selfies in the ballot booth. Don’t risk it.
  5. Report any voting obstructions. If there is anything obstructing your right to safely submit your vote, call 866-Our-Vote (866-687-8683). The organization is designed to offer support and information to ensure your safety and right to vote. Visit 866-Out-Vote’s website here.
  6. Bring comfortable shoes and a good playlist. Based on the statistics on early voting, lines are expected to be long.

Happy voting!