Voters line up outside of Smoothie King Center as early voting begins in Orleans Parish

Long lines as early voting begins in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Early voting in Louisiana for the the Presidential election begins Friday.

Several people began lining up early Friday morning at the Smoothie King Center for early voting.

The Smoothie King Center has become a site for early voting after a nation-wide push months ago from NBA players who urged cities across the country to turn their sports venues into polling places for the upcoming election.

Early voting begins at 8 a.m. and lasts until 7 p.m. Early voting locations will be open everyday except for Sunday until October 27.

Besides the presidential election, Louisiana voters will weigh in on whether or not to allow sports betting in their parish. If that measure passes, it could still be more than a year before people can place bets at casinos.

The New Orleans City Council recently requested Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin to use the Smoothie King Center as an additional venue for early voting on election day for the November election.

The venue will provide more space for voters, and residents are encouraged to wear masks and socially distance themselves. Hand sanitizer will also be available and the machines will be wiped down after each use.

Many voters in line say they are doing their civic duty and voting is what it means to be an American.

“I would have rather voted by mail and what not. I’d rather not be here,” says one voter. “Make it easier for people to vote. It’s important. It’s our right.”

“I was always number one or number two in line. And people have died to give me this right. And I’m going to use it,” says another voter.

Louisiana voters will also be deciding the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Bill Cassidy along with six U.S. House seats and several Constitutional Amendments.

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