LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The 2020 presidential election was the perfect storm for early voter turnout in relation to the pandemic. Fast forward to this weekend’s election, and local officials say this time around, turnout looks a lot different.
Aside from the November election, more polling locations will be back at their normal spots, but even with that in mind, officials say voter turnout is more crucial this time around.
”In-person early voting was very sparse. The turnout was pretty low,” said Calcasieu Clerk of Court Lynn Jones.
In just one year, we’ve seen the voting process evolve drastically. In an even shorter time span, Southwest Louisiana’s process took more hits than one. But much progress has been made following the storms.
”I think we’re very fortunate that out of 123 precincts, we only have 8 that are not where they normally should be voting.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s election, Jones says only three percent of voters cast their ballot in-person.
”Compared to last mayoral election, it’s similar - the early voting. The only difference is in the last several years, early voting has been more popular. So, if you combine that together, it’s still lower.”
Historically speaking, the early voting trend is common for local elections, but Jones says the biggest feat is educating voters on each election’s importance.
“There’s a lot on the ballot, and I think some people are thinking, ‘Well there’s not much out there to go to the polls,’” said Jones. “Of course, I always say it really doesn’t matter you just have to go vote.”
Jones said with some polling locations still under repair, his office continues to inform voters about what they need to know before heading to the polls.
For comparison, during the 2017 Lake Charles Mayoral Race, nearly 2,800 people decided to vote early. So far, for this year’s race, just under 2,000 voters showed up to the polls in-person.
Early mail-in ballots are still being counted, but Jones said it likely won’t have a major effect on the overall number.
POLLING LOCATION CHANGES:
Residents who usually vote at the following location will be relocated to 901 Lakeshore Drive, 70601:
- Chateau Du Lac, 333 Mill St., Lake Charles, 70601
Residents who usually vote at the following location will be relocated to the Pryce-Miller Recreation Center, 216 Albert St., Lake Charles, 70601:
- Foreman-Reynaud YMCA, 215 Albert St., Lake Charles, 70601
Residents who usually vote at the following locations will be relocated to Lake Charles/Boston Academy, 1509 Enterprise Boulevard, Lake Charles, 70601:
- St. Louis High School, 1620 Bank St., Lake Charles, 70601
- St. Margaret Catholic School, 2510 Enterprise Boulevard, Lake Charles, 70601
Residents who usually vote at the following location will be relocated to Vinton High School, 1603 Grace Ave., Vinton, 70668:
- Shaw Park Recreation Building, 1615 Horridge St., Vinton, 70668.
For more information about polling locations, visit the Louisiana Secretary of State website at www.geauxvote.com or contact the Calcasieu Parish Clerk of Court Office at 337-437-3550.