Election Coverage

Oct 11, 2013 4:08 PM by Ian Auzenne

Early voter turnout abysmal for October 19 races

Early voting turnout in Acadiana has been very low according to data gather from local registrars of voters offices.

Six area parishes have contested elections and/or propositions on their October 19 ballots. However, only a handful of voters have taken the opportunity to cast their ballots early.

In Iberia Parish, where the Jeanerette mayorship and two Jeanerette council seats are up for grabs, only four percent of Jeanerette's registered voters have voted early. According to Iberia Parish registrar Mildred Adams, 148 of the city's 3,753 eligible voters have cast their ballots--115 in person and 33 by mail. Adams said she expected a much larger turnout for early voting.

In St. Mary Parish, only 131 of 13,053 eligible voters--or one percent--have cast their ballots. There are a number of items up for a vote there this weekend. A seat on the Baldwin council is up for grabs. Voters in Patterson will vote on a proposition to fund a new school. Bayou Vista voters will decide the fate of a drainage proposition. Amelia voters will consider a recreation proposition.

Jeff Davis Parish registrar of voters Lorraine Dees says her parish has also seen only one percent of eligible voters vote early. According to Dees, 267 early votes have been cast for the three contested Jennings city council races and the two tax propositions in the parish.

"We usually see 10% turnout for early voting," Dees said. "It's going to be a low turnout for this election, especially in the tax district elections. They have been advertised and talked about, but we're still expecting a low turnout."

St. Landry Parish isn't doing much better. Registrar of voters John Moreau says a total of 875 voters out of an estimated 52,000--or 1.6 percent--have voted early. That parish has four items on its ballot: the Fifth Congressional District primary, the District 3 and District 6 school board races, and a Krotz Springs alderman election.

In Acadia Parish, only a total of 16 voters out of a possible 12,067--or one-tenth of one percent--have turned out to vote early. Residents in Rayne will consider a recreational tax, while voters in the unincorporated areas of the parish will vote on two drainage taxes.

The smallest early voting turnout is in Lafayette Parish, where the only ballot item is a hotel tax proposition in the city of Youngsville. Registrar of voters Charlene Meaux says no one has voted early in person, and that only 10 of the 30 absentee mail ballots sent out have been returned.

"i've been working here since 1988, and this has never happened," Meaux said.

Early voting continues until 6:00 P. M. tomorrow at your local registrar's office.

Those waiting to vote on October 17 are reminded that polls will open at 7 a. m. instead of 6 a. m. This change is the result of a constitutional amendment passed last year pushing back election start times in the state.

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