Early voting for Dec. 5 runoff down 86% from Nov. 3 election


    The Smoothie King Center, the arena for the New Orleans Pelicans NBA franchise, was open for early voting before the Nov. 3 election. (Photo by Jarvis DeBerry / Louisiana Illuminator)

    On the first day of early voting for the Nov. 3 presidential election, 175,000 Louisianians ballots.  During the 10 days of early voting for the Dec. 5 runoff, 137,515 Louisianians did, suggesting that Louisianians are far less interested in the races that remain on the ballot and less likely to turn out Saturday.

    All told, there were 964,181 early ballots cast for the November election and 137,514 cast for the runoff, an 86 percent drop in early votes.

    Presidential races typically produce the highest turnouts, and November’s ballot included both the race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden and the race between U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and a field of 14 challengers. There are no statewide races on December’s ballot. The only item common to all voters is a constitutional amendment that, if passed, will allow out-of-state residents to serve as an at-large member of a public postsecondary education board of supervisors.

    In an interview with the Illuminator before the Nov. 3 election, Calcasieu Parish Clerk of Court Lynn Jones said he was certain that some early voters were only casting ballots in the presidential election because, he said, they were in and out of the voting booth in two seconds.

    Voters have until 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1, to request an absentee ballot by mail from their local Registrar of Voters Office or request a ballot online through the secretary of state’s  Voter Portal. In order for those votes to be counted, registrars must receive completed ballots by 4:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4.

    Exceptions are made for military voters and those living overseas.  Such voters can request a ballot by 4:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 and must return them by 8 p.m. on the day of the election.

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    Jarvis DeBerry
    Jarvis DeBerry, editor of the Louisiana Illuminator, spent 22 years at The Times-Picayune (and later NOLA.com) as a crime and courts reporter, an editorial writer, columnist and deputy opinions editor. He was on the team of Times-Picayune journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service after that team’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly flood that followed. In addition to the shared Pulitzer, DeBerry has won awards from the Louisiana Bar Association for best trial coverage and awards from the New Orleans Press Club, the Louisiana/ Mississippi Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists for his columns.