Thousands of SWLA residents vote on first day of early voting

First Day of early voting in Louisiana

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Thousands of residents in Calcasieu Parish voted on the first day of early voting.

Despite two hurricanes and a global pandemic, the Southwest Louisiana community is showing up to vote because they want their voices to be heard.

“I think it was necessary for me to come out early and vote cause a lot out in the community needs to be done and it’s amazing how all of the people stuck together and tried to survive this out," resident Elliot Clark said.

Calcasieu Parish Clerk of Court Lynn Jones said early voting is off to a great start. Jones along with other local officials have been planning for this election through three emergency situations.

“We started out with the COVID situation and we were having to regulate some of our precincts because of the guidelines on social distancing," he said. "So we were in preparation for that when Laura hit and then Delta hit and we had to make some adjustments from there so it’s probably one of the most challenging elections that’s been held in the country.”

But that hasn’t kept people away from the polls.

“We’re probably going about three times about what we normally do on a presidential election on election day at the courthouse," he said.

While lines might have appeared long, Jones said people were only waiting for about twenty-five minutes. For some voters, it felt even quicker.

“I thought it was going to be a long time but it was about 5 or 10 minutes and you’re out of there," Clark said.

On Election Day, that might not be the case. So, local officials are encouraging residents to vote early.

“There’s going to be a lot of people there on Election Day and the more people that vote early will alleviate the pressure on Election Day," Jones said.

Jones recommends voters come to the polls prepared by knowing what is on the ballot. Sample ballots can be found here.

Early voting continues through October 27. People can vote in-person Monday-Saturday, from 8 am to 7 pm.

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