February 9th is election day in Louisiana when registered Republicans and Democrats will vote on who they want to be on the ballot for president. Those who don't belong to one of those two parties don't get to vote on presidential preference.
Four years ago the Louisiana Presidential Preference Primary was in March. This year it will be Saturday, February 9th. Many would have loved to see it on "Super Tuesday" when a bunch of other states will vote, but Calcasieu Registrar Angie Quienalty explains, that would have put it on Mardi Gras! "The legislators chose for Louisiana not to participate on Super Tuesday because Super Tuesday and Mardi gras are on the same day. We don't want to have an election on Mardi Gras in Louisiana. That's just too much chaos."
So, Democrats and Republican voters only will cast ballots Saturday, February 9th. Explains Quienalty, "Democrats will be voting on the Democrat slate of candidates, Republicans will vote on the Republican slate of candidates. And this election is closed. Only Democrats will be able to vote and only Republicans will be able to vote. And that's because the election code provides that you must have 40,000 registered voters in a party to be able to participate in the presidential preference primary and those are the only two parties at this time that have 40,000 or more registered voters."
Four years ago there was a scant ten per cent turnout in Calcasieu. Many people just didn't seem to see the point. Says Quienalty, "It gives the delegates a picture of Louisiana's preference. It is very similar to a straw poll." Quienalty says there are probably other ways to find out the preference of Louisiana voters, rather than old a full fledged election.
It's too late to change party registration in time for Feburary 9th, but there are plenty of other big elections this year in September, October and November.