Cenla voter's mail-in ballot disqualified, wants to raise awareness on process

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - With the election season in full swing, one Cenla voter wants to make sure what happened to his ballot doesn’t happen to you.

Credit: KALB

A voter in Alexandria reached out to KALB after his mail-in ballot was disqualified.

It was a disappointing turn of events for Byron Lavalais. Two days after the October 12 election, Lavalais got a letter saying his ballot was no good.

"It really bothered me because voting is important to us," said Lavalais. "It made me feel like I didn't have a voice."

Byron and his wife were going to be out of town on Election Day. So, they decided to absentee vote with a mail-in ballot. They filled it out, and he dropped them off at the Rapides Registrar of Voters Office. Byron signed his wife's ballot as a witness and showed the registrar his ID and turned his in without a signature.

“The reason why it was rejected is because there was no signature on the ballot," said Lavalais. "I was informed I didn't have to, but it was a process of me learning. It's vital that the public know the procedures and protocols behind this process, because every vote counts."

We spoke with the Registrar of Voters to learn the process.

“It is something we are concerned about,” said Lin Stewart, Rapides Registrar of Voters. "We get ballots that are not signed by the voters, and they do not have a witness, so we have to disqualify that ballot."

After your mail-in the ballot, it's not opened until the night of the election.

"We don't catch it, so we don't know there's no witness on there, or they didn't sign their ballot," said Stewart.

For Byron, it's especially disappointing after taking the extra steps to get out the vote.

“Extremely disappointing because every vote counts. These are some extremely important issues that are going on in these elections," said Lavalais.

The deadline for mail-in ballots for the Nov. 16 runoff election is Nov. 12. Lavalais said he plans to early vote this time.

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