Registrar of Voters’ offices see long lines, large numbers for Nov. 4 early voting

Aaron Looney
Ascension Parish Registrar of Voters Robert Poche, left, and Gonzales office administrator/co-cordinator Tiwanna Sonnier hand out written descriptions of the seven state constitutional amendments and a proposed 3-mill property tax during the first day of early voting Tuesday. A large line of voters snaked out of the Registrar of Voters’ office at the Parish Courthouse East to cast early ballots for the Nov. 4 general election. Early voting continues through Tuesday, with the exception of Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

Those looking to cast early ballots this week in Ascension Parish for the Nov. 4 general election found themselves among many others, as crowds of people flocked to the two Registrar of Voter’s offices to cast their advance votes.

“This is a very large crowd for the first day,” Poche said, adding that he expects the crowd to grow over the week-long early voting period.

Poche said Tuesday that when he arrived at his Gonzales office in the Parish Courthouse East at 7:30 a.m., an hour prior to when the voting period began, there were about five voters already waiting at the door.

While numbers were not as large at his Donaldsonville office at the Parish Courthouse, Poche said, reports reflected a steady turnout there as well.

Poche said that based on the early voting turnout so far, voter registrations prior to the election and phone calls asking for information on voting, he expects “between 70 and 75 percent” voter turnout in Ascension Parish for the general election. Secretary of State Jay Dardenne has said he expects a voter turnout percentage between 65 and 70 percent statewide.

“We usually tend to trend a bit higher than the state average here,” Poche said.

National items appearing on the Nov. 4 ballot include the race for U.S. President and runoffs for U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative for the 6th Congressional District, which encompasses northern Ascension Parish.

At the state level, voters in Ascension Parish will also help decide a runoff for the District 1 seat on the Public Service Commission, which represents the parish. There will also be seven proposed amendments to the state constitution on the ballot.

On the local level, parish voters will decide runoff races for Justice of the Peace in the 3rd Justice Court and Constable in the 2nd Justice Court.

Parish voters will also choose whether or not to institute a 3-mill property tax to fund parish government’s proposed purchase and upgrade of the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.

Poche said he felt this year’s presidential election is a catalyst for such a large turnout.

“It’s a very historic and important election, so you expect a large amount of people to vote,” Poche said. “You even get some who may not vote in any other elections who got back on the rolls just for this one. It’s also been heavily publicized, which helps to increase the numbers.”

Early voting statewide runs through Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day with the exception of Sunday, when the offices are closed. Early voters are asked to bring a picture ID and their voter registration card, if possible.

For more information on early voting, call the Registrar of Voter’s office in Gonzales at 621-5780 or the Donaldsonville office at 473-7906, or visit the Registrar of Voters’ Web site at www.ascensionrov.com.