For the October 14 election, a record early/absentee ballot tally could go even higher, said Registrar of Voters Bryan Kelley, after the Early Voting polls closed at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7. His office will accept mail-in absentee ballots until 4:30 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 13.
The registrar reported that as of Saturday’s closing, a total of 1,936 voters had cast their preferences. That included 1,765 in-person and another 171 by mail. That eclipsed the last governor/sheriff race in fall of 2019 when the total was 1,747. The difference reflects a 10.8% increase but Kelley reminds that more mail-in ballots could arrive before the Friday deadline.
Kelley added he cannot say if this increase is a reflection of voter interest in the Oct. ballot compared to the ballot four years ago or if it’s an indication of growing voter acceptance of the Early Vote. “Early voting has been growing since the concept was introduced by the Secretary of State’s Office. But high profile races drive voter turnout.” Nor can the early voting totals be used to predict favorites in the state or local races since those ballots and machines will remain sealed until voting closes on Election Night, Oct. 14.
Drawing the greatest local interest on Saturday’s ballot are the parishwide races for Sheriff. High interest at the district level are races for Police Juror in districts 3, 4, 5 and 6. Other statewide races from Lieutenant Governor to Secretary of State will be contested as well as the district BESE Board seat and western Winn’s small slice of Senate District 31.
Other Early Voting statistics break downs show that 1,525 of that 1,935 total were White, 395 were Black and 16 were Other. By party, there were 632 Democrat, 913 Republican and 391 Other. Voting were 844 males and 1,0291 females.
For those races where a runoff is necessary, the General Election date will be Saturday, Nov. 18.