LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Clerk of Court Lynn Jones has issued a initial report on early voting in Calcasieu Parish to provide voters with some insight and analysis ahead of the mid-term election on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.
Jones says, “There have been 11,000 ballots cast already during early voting, which is about 8.6% of the 128,273 total registered voters in Calcasieu. With a predicted turnout of 30%, that means only 35,000 voters may be heading to the polls on Election Day. While the turnout has been higher than normal for early voting, this doesn’t necessarily predict a higher turnout on Election Day. Many of the voters who participate in early voting are chronic voters taking advantage of the convenience.”
Jones goes on to say, “Louisiana has an impressive 84% of eligible residents registered to vote, but unfortunately this doesn’t translate to high voter turnout. Pundits are still predicting that we will only see 18-30% of the registered voters come out to the polls. There are numerous local races that directly affect Calcasieu residents, so I hope that Calcasieu voters will lead the state with turnout.”
The Clerk of Court hopes that voting in all elections becomes a habit for registered voters in Calcasieu parish and that he wants to make certain all voters are comfortable with exercising their right to vote.
Jones says that voting is one of the highest acts of citizenship and that citizens should make sure that they are educated on what is on the ballot. He recommends that voters pre-prepare a sample ballot to have them with them in the voting booth. These can be found in your local newspaper, online at www.calclerkofcourt.com, or at www.sos.la.gov. You can also get the GEAUXVOTE App for your smart phone and enter you name and zip code to receive directions to your voting precinct and a preview of your specific ballot.
In addition to this Jones also recommends that you read and understand the Constitutional Amendments before you enter the voting booth. These can often be somewhat confusing to voters and sometimes cause delays. With a large number of candidates, six amendments, and two tax propositions, its important that voters be prepared when they enter the voting booth. The amendment portion of the ballot tends to take voters the most time to complete, but if you are prepared you should be able to easily complete your ballot within the allotted time frame.
Another helpful tip is to try and vote as early as you can in the day on November 6th. This will make it less likely that you will get distracted with unforeseen issues that may arise during the day and keep you from being able to make it to the polls. Also, if you want to avoid possible long lines, cast your ballot during non-peak times which are usually mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Remember, polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
As for what you will need when you are voting in Calcasieu the LA Secretary of State’s website says that a voter is required to give their name and address to a commissioner to be announced for voting. These voting commissioners are at the polls and are required to identify every applicant via photo ID or by the voter signing an affidavit after answering questions that allow the commissioner to properly verify the voter before they are allowed to vote.
Tuesday is, of course, a workday for many voters so the Clerk of Court asks employers to consider allowing employees the opportunity to go cast their ballot if their shift does not allow them time to vote.
If you have any questions or concerns on voting day you can call the Clerk of Court office at 337-437-3550 or the Registrar of Voters office at 337-721-4000.
Finally, Jones has a few last tips and reminders for prospective voters:
- Please be courteous to your fellow voters and to election commissioners.
- Please exit your polling place as soon as you complete the voting process. This makes room for incoming voters and keeps parking spots available.
- Don’t discuss items on the ballot while in line or in the voting precinct; this is considered electioneering.
- Do not wear or display any campaign material in a polling precinct.
- If you have magnetic signs of a candidate in your car you will need to remove them if you are parking within 600 feet of the polling precinct.
- There is no campaigning or political signs allowed within 600 feet of the entrance of the polling precinct.
- There is a general 3 minute time limit that may be enforced when you are in the voting booth so don’t stay in there too long.
- Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
- And don’t forget to thank your poll commissioners. It’s going to be a long day for them.