Early voting numbers higher in 2019 than in 2015, 2011

Early voting for next weekend’s gubernatorial primary election is done, and the Teche Area is showing signs of a strong turnout so far.

In Iberia Parish, Registrar of Voters Kristie Blanchard said more than a thousand — 1,086, to be exact — voters passed through her office Saturday to cast their early ballots, along with 10 other ballots received via mail. Adding that 1,096 voters to the previous six-day turnout meant 6,782 voters took advantage of the early voting period this cycle.

“It was a busy day,” Blanchard said.

The turnout this week is the strongest response to early voting for a gubernatorial primary in at least a decade. In 2015, 4,572 voters participated in early voting. In 2011, 2,956 voted early.

Whether or not the early voting total shows more interest in the ballot items during this election cycle — which would predict a higher than average turnout on Oct. 12 — or just a trending of voters to take advantage of the early voting period for convenience is not clear.

In St. Mary Parish, the overall trend this voting season tracks with that of Iberia Parish. The two voting locations in that parish — one in Franklin, the other in Morgan City — saw a total of 844 in-person voters on the final early voting day plus 11 mail-in ballots. For the week, Registrar of Voters Jolene Holcombe said 4,602 votes were cast.

That’s considerably higher than the 3,393 votes cast early in 2015. In 2011, however, 3,439 early votes were cast, slightly more than in 2015 but still far less than in 2019.

The primary purpose of this election is for voters to elect the governor, statewide officials, various municipal officials, and to vote on four state constitutional amendments. Voters in Iberia Parish will also be voting on proposed amendments to the parish’s home rule charter to remove outdated and contradictory language.

Polls will reopen Saturday morning at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Voters will be asked to identify themselves with either a photo ID or signature on a voter affidavit. Voters can use a driver’s license, a Louisiana special ID, LA Wallet digital driver’s license, or some other generally recognized picture ID that has the voter’s name and signature.

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