Mar 22, 2014 4:15 PM by KATC
Early voting in Franklin took place Saturday, March 22, 2014 at the court house. Some Franklin residents say they weren't allowed to vote. Multiple residents called to say Franklin Police were denying people access into the courthouse to participate in early voting. Some residents say officers were threatening arrests if they didn't leave the area. Franklin Police Chief Sabria McGuire said they (FPD) received complaints about politicking, and sent a deputy to enforce voting laws at the courthouse. She denies reports her officers stopped anyone from voting.
According to St. Mary Parish Registrar of Voters, Jolene Holcombe, police were called to the courthouse because crowds of people were congregating in the parking lot, jumping from car to car and openly soliciting people to vote for specific candidates. Franklin Police were called to enforce the 600 foot zone that prohibits this activity while voting is taking place.
State law prohibits politicking within 600 feet of a polling place during an election. Holcombe says even when the people politicking were asked to leave, they continued to yell out candidate names and try to persuade voters on how to cast their ballot.
It was also noticed that many people were being driven in large groups to vote, which isn't illegal unless money exchanges hands. Holcombe says the only voters turned away were those that were not eligible. Holcombe says she has arranged for security for the remainder of early voting days.
As of 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22, 2014, nearly 230 Franklin voters have cast a ballot on this first day of early voting, which is abnormally high.
There are less than 5,200 voters in the entire city who are eligible vote in this election.
In St. Mary Parish, there are five council seats up for grabs, as well as the mayoral race.