Big turnout for early voting as election nears
Acadia Parish has already realized an 8 percent turnout for the Oct. 24 gubernatorial primary elections.
As of the close of early voting on Saturday, 3,117 of the parish’s 39,012 registered voters had cast ballots, either in person or by mail, according to Registrar of Voters Billie J. Meyer.
“We anticipated a good turnout but it was better than any of us here in the office expected,” Meyer said Monday morning.
She added that the turnout of voters on Friday and Saturday — while the 79th International Rice Festival was in full swing — also exceeded estimates.
“We had 222 voters on Friday and another 244 on Saturday,” Meyer said.
Meyer said early voting opened with a bang, with nearly 900 votes cast in person during the first two days — 450 on Saturday, Oct. 10, and 436 on Monday, Oct. 12.
Tuesday saw another increase with 468 voters visiting the registrar’s office, but Wednesday was the busiest for the staff with 502 ballots cast.
Meyer explained that the total early vote numbers will continue to rise during the week as more and more mail-in ballots are delivered.
“We accept mail-ins for the general public through Friday,” Meyer said. “If they’re from military or from overseas, we take them on Saturday.”
Of the 3,117 votes cast by Saturday evening, 2,736 were in person and 375 were through the mail.
Statewide, early voting numbers are coming in lower than last year’s congressional elections.
The Advocate reports about 14,000 fewer voters participated in early voting that ended late Saturday than did in the November 2014 congressional elections - the last major comparable election in the state.
When early voting ended, 222,162 of Louisiana’s 2.89 million voters had cast their ballots. That’s 7.6 percent.
Based on those numbers and historical trends, Secretary of State Tom Schedler predicts voter turnout of between 45 and 50 percent, “somewhere in the 47 to 48 percent range.”
But, he said, he fears it could go lower because of a huge undecided vote showing up in political polling — as high as 30 percent in some elections.
Election day is Saturday, Oct. 24. Runoffs, if necessary, will be held Saturday, Nov. 21.