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EMSA, contractor dispute reason for delays in answering emergency calls | Local News

More absentee ballot guidance

Have you heard about “naked” ballots after a viral video? Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman said to worry more about completing the affidavit properly than “clothing” your ballots.

“We will most certainly accept ballots that are in the envelope unsealed. It happens frequently. We will even accept ballots that are not enclosed in the white secrecy envelope,” she said in an email to Tulsa World.

“Sometimes people lose the envelope or forget to enclose the ballot in the envelope. These ballots are accepted and counted as long as the affidavit is properly executed.”

The deadline to request a ballot is officially Oct. 27, but waiting that long can put an unnecessary burden on an already-strained U.S. Postal Service. Not to mention probably making local election board officials work a 16-hour day at the deadline to ensure voters will receive their absentee ballots with enough time to complete and mail them back.

The postmark date doesn’t matter: Your absentee ballot has to be at the county election board by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted. Some have recommended returning ballots by Oct. 28 to ensure they’ll be processed and received on time.

Read more: Tulsa County Election Board works through historic absentee voting surge ahead of general election

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LHC announces improvements for Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Louisiana Housing Corporation announced on Wednesday improvements to the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (LERAP) that aim to improve access for renters and landlords impacted by COVID-19.

LHC has reduced the application length and divided it into components for renters and landlords. E-signatures are now allowed for faster receipt of documentation required by the federal government. In addition to hosting in-person outreach events in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LHC is scheduling events around the state to serve those with limited access to the internet, or who otherwise may need help in submitting their application.

“We know COVID-19 has impacted thousands of Louisianans, and emergency rental assistance is needed by many. LHC’s goal is to provide that assistance as soon as possible and after receiving feedback on how to improve the process, we have made several adjustments,” said LHC Executive Director Keith Cunningham, Jr. “Although there are federal requirements that we must abide by, our team has been able to significantly reduce the application length, as well as establish partnerships to assist with the delivery of services. In addition, we are encouraging applicants to stay in touch with the program through our customer service center. By working together, we will see even more progress.”

LHC is continuing to expand its partnership with local housing entities across the state to provide direct assistance to help renters and landlords impacted by COVID-19 complete the necessary paperwork.

Since launching LERAP on July 16, 2020, over $7 million has been committed to eligible applicants, preventing more than 3,000 families from being evicted.
In July 2020, the Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC) and the Louisiana Office of Community Development (OCD) partnered with the Continuum of Care network to launch a program to address imminent housing needs across the state caused by the financial impacts of

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