Editorial: Early voting is underway

Lisa Yates @Lisa_editor
Lisa Yates, editor

Early voting is underway in Ascension Parish for those of you who can’t get to the polls on Election Day, Nov. 6.

While the majority of local voters still cast their ballots on Election Day at their respective polling places, a growing number like me choose to vote early. Approximately 7,553  Ascension Parish voters cast their vote early in the last presidential election held in 2008. The in-person count was 7,057, according to officials.

Early voting takes two major forms. The first is absentee voting which which allows voters to request a ballot by mail. The second is in-person early voting.

Early in-person voting started Tuesday, Oct. 23, and continues through Tuesday, Oct. 30.  Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day except Sunday.

It’s an easy process that requires little time to complete. Just go to one of these two early voting locations:

• 828 S. Irma Blvd., Room 205, in Gonzales

• 300 Houmas St., in Donaldsonville

When you go to cast your vote early, you will be asked to identify yourself with either a photo ID or signature on a voter affidavit. You may use a driver's license, a Louisiana Special ID or some other generally recognized picture ID that has your name and signature. Workers will determine whether you are a registered voter based on this information.

Officials at the Registrar’s office recommend you go online to download a sample ballot prior to voting because there are nine propostions to consider and there’s a three minute time limit on the voting machines. They say the time limit will be strictly enforced. So be prepared. Know which candidates and issues you choose to support before you go.

You can get a sample ballot online at https://voterportal.sos.la.gov/ by searching your name or address. If you have any questions, you can call (225) 621-5780, and the folks at Registrar’s office will be glad to help.

Whether or not you choose to vote early, please vote.

Women didn’t get the right to vote until the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1920. It took women decades to win the right, so don’t sit home on Election Day. Better yet, vote early like I do.

The main item on the ballot is the U.S. Presidential Election between incumbent Democrat Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Of course, there are other presidential candidates on the ballot – 11 of them, according to the La. Secretary of State’s website.

There are two U.S. House of Representative races involving Ascension Parish voters, depending on where you live - the 2nd Congressional District or the 6th Congressional District.

All of Ascension will vote for one Louisiana Supreme Court Justice and two state appeals judges. District Judge Mary Lambert is running unopposed for her position as Ascension Parish Court Judge.

If you live in Gonzales and Donaldsonville, you will decide whether or not your current mayor will get another term in office when you head to the polls on Election Day.

Barney Arceneaux, the incumbent, is facing challenger Jeffrey “Jeff” Little for Mayor of Gonzales. Leroy Sullivan Sr., the incumbent, is being challenged by Eric Robinson for Mayor of Donaldsonville.

Another race to watch is the race for Gonzales Chief of Police. Sherman Jackson, the incumbent, is facing two challengers Duane Michael Carpenter and Glynn LeBlanc.

The only parish school board race is in District 3, where Edgar Irvin, the incumbent, is facing Richard “Coach” Brown.

All of you in Gonzales will cast ballots for your representatives on the City Council. The choices are:

• Division A: Kenneth “Kenny” Matassa, the incumbent; or, Willie Robinson

• Division B: Kirk Boudreaux, the incumbent is running unopposed

• Division C: Ronald J. “Joe” Waguepack, the incumbent; or, Timothy Vessel, Sr.

• Division D: Terance L. Irvin, the incumbent; or, Claston Bernard

• Division E: John Cagnolatti, the incumbent; or, Gary J. Lacombe

In Donaldsonville, several City Council members are running unopposed, including incumbents Lauthaught Delaney Sr., in District 1; Raymond Aucoin, in District 2; and,Reginald Francis, Sr., in District 3. You will have a choice in these districts:

• District 4: Charles Brown, the incumbent; or, Ricky Larvadain, Jr.

• District 5: Emile J. Spano, the incumbent; or, Michael Sullivan, Sr.

In Sorrento, Jason R. Adams is the only city council candidate on the ballot.

Of course, I write all of this with the following disclaimer: Candidates can drop out of the race at any time. So go to the La. Secretary of State’s website at www.geauxvote.com for the most up-to-date information.

Don’t forget, the half-cent sales tax is on the ballot.

Many of you have written me letters expressing your opinion about the Lanes for Change proposal. Now it’s time for action. It’s your vote that counts, not your words.

Lisa Yates is editor at Gonzales Weekly Citizen. Follow her on Twitter @Lisa_editor.