The Louisiana Presidential Preference Primary is quickly approaching which means it’s time to make sure everything you need to participate in the primary is ready to go. The primary will be held on April 4, 2020, and your party determines what is on your ballot. 

Even though there is a bit of time between now and April, the deadlines for making changes to how you are registered are just around the corner. 

March 4 is the deadline to register in person,  to make any changes and to register by mail.

March 14 is the deadline to register online or make any online changes to your registration.

The primary is important because It allows the electors of each political party having 40,000 or more registered voters to express their preference for their party's presidential nominee. 

The Democratic, Republican and Independent Parties in Louisiana have 40,000 plus registered voters and therefore have a Presidential Preference Primary election. 

The parties govern by their rules who can vote in the election. 

Presently only registered Democratic voters can vote in the Democratic Party primary, registered Republicans in the Republican Party primary, and registered Independents in the Independent Party primary. 

So what does this mean for you? 

If  you’re registered with the Democratic Party you will be able to vote for:

Democratic presidential nominee

Democratic State Central Committee and Democratic Parish Executive Committee, if any such election is on the ballot in your parish 

Municipal, special, or proposition election, if any such election is on the ballot in your parish and if you are eligible to vote within the jurisdiction of the municipal, special, or proposition election 

If  you’re registered with the RebulicanParty you will be able to vote for:

Republican presidential nominee

Republican Parish Executive Committee, if any such election is on the ballot in your parish

Municipal, special, or proposition election, if any such election is on the ballot in your parish and if you are eligible to vote within the jurisdiction of the municipal, special, or proposition election 

If  you’re registered with the ANY OTHER PARTY or have NO PARTY affiliation  you will be able to vote for:

Municipal, special, or proposition election, if any such election is on the ballot in your parish and if you are eligible to vote within the jurisdiction of the municipal, special, or proposition election 

The precinct register will state "NOT ELIGIBLE FOR ELECTION" on the signature line if you do not live in the jurisdiction of any municipal, special, or proposition elections on the ballot

Keep in mind that provisional ballots are available for Democratic and Republican presidential nominees ONLY. 

If this primary seems later in the year than usual, its because for the first time since 2000, La had to change from a March Primary to an April Primary. 

Sam Karlin wrote an article for The Advocate News Paper about the quirky law that set this into motion.

“The state had been scheduled to hold its presidential primary elections, in which Democratic and Republican voters choose their preferred party candidate for president, on March 7, as it usually does under state law,” wrote Karlin. “But an obscure provision of the election laws prevents any election from being held within three days of a holiday. Because municipal general elections are required to be held five weeks after the primary, the March 7 date put the general election within three days of Easter, which is April 12 in 2020.” 

Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party was quoted in Karlin’s article saying this later date “could wind up giving the state’s Democratic primary more importance as it chooses its candidate from a historically large pool of candidates.” 

“The state Democratic Party could also send 10% more delegates to the convention in 2020 with the new date, Handwerk said. That’s because the national Democratic Party has tried to incentivize states to hold their primary elections later than March to avoid a mass of states holding elections around the same time,” continued Handwerk. 

Louisiana Republicans do not seem to be bothered by this change, as Louisiana is expected to an almost unanimous vote for President Trump. 

As of this writing, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders is blazing a trail through the primaries and appears to be in the lead. 

For more information on changing your registration information or to learn more about the primaries, visit https://www.sos.la.gov. 

Editor’s note: Information in this article was gathered from the Beauregard Parish Registrar of VotersOffice, Louisiana Secretary of State website, and Sam Karlin’s Article written and published in The Advocate.