Ads hit airwaves to help displaced New Orleans voters

BATON ROUGE, La. Television and radio commercials will hit airwaves this week informing displaced New Orleans voters and others how they can go about casting absentee ballots in upcoming elections.

First Assistant Secretary of State Renee Free says the outreach program is tailored to give nonpartisan information on how to vote if a Louisiana resident is currently living out of state.

The commercials, which feature Secretary of State Al Ater (AY'-ter), cost about 370-thousand dollars. They will air in Louisiana markets as well as in states with the largest concentrations of displaced residents -- Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.

Free says her office also is running newspaper ads with the same information in the largest cities in those states at a cost of 311-thousand dollars.

The New Orleans elections, set for April 22nd, will cost the state about two-and-a-half (m) million dollars, including the educational outreach media program.

She notes that the Federal Emergency Management Agency refused to finance the election although the agency helped fund New York elections shortly after the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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