Although election day isn’t until Sept. 30, voters in Louisiana were able to begin voting Sept. 18 under the state’s new early voting law. Early voting extends through Sept. 26; the new law went into effect Jan. 1, 2006.
On the ballot are statewide elections to replace Insurance Commissioner Robert Wooley, who resigned to practice law, and the late Secretary of State Fox McKeithen. In addition, many parishes have numerous local elections for mayors, police chiefs and school board members.
State Rep. Wayne Waddell, R-Shreveport, said he proposed the new law because he felt it was silly that people who voted absentee “felt like they had to give some lame excuse for wanting to vote before Election Day. Most people just made something up” and some felt “it was kind of an invasion of privacy.”
“Maybe it will turn out more people,” he added.
Several registrars of voters around the state said the new early voting law might not have much effect this year because it’s likely few people know about or understand it. Some who have promoted early voting say they expect a good turnout.
“I don’t think it’s fully soaked in” that people can vote early if they want to, said Caddo Parish Registrar Ernie Roberson. “Until we start advertising it,” not that many people will realize they can do it.
Next year’s election with all statewide offices on the ballot would be a good time to promote the law to relieve some of the pressure on Election Day, he said.
Information from: The News-Star, www.thenewsstar.com.
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