3,474 line up in EBR to cast ballots
More than 3,400 people in East Baton Rouge Parish headed to the polls Tuesday for the first day of early voting, similar to the first day turnout for the presidential election four years ago, a parish official said.
In all, 3,474 people in the parish voted, said Elaine Lamb, East Baton Rouge Parish’s registrar of voters.
Early voting began Tuesday and runs through Oct. 30. Polls will be closed Sunday.
The general election is Nov. 6, and any runoff elections will be held Dec. 8.
By comparison, 3,660 people in the parish turned out for the first day of early voting in the 2008 presidential election, Lamb said.
Lamb said 560 people turned out for the first day of early voting in October 2011, when Bobby Jindal was re-elected as governor with nearly 66 percent of the vote.
“We were busy all day,” Lamb said Tuesday. “We might have had, I’d say, eight to 10 people in a line, we get them in and out just as fast (as possible), and then you’d look back up and have just as many people.”
In addition to the presidential election, East Baton Rouge Parish residents are voting for mayor-president this year.
Incumbent Kip Holden, a Democrat, is seeking a third and final term. His most well-funded challenger is Republican Metro Councilman Mike Walker. Businessman Gordon Mese and attorney Steve Myers, two no-party candidates, are also vying for the mayoral seat.
At the Clerk of Court’s Coursey Boulevard branch, people waited in line for one to two hours to vote, looking over sample ballots as the line snaked its way around the second floor of the building.
Anquanelle Ewing, 25, of Baton Rouge, voted at the Coursey Boulevard location. Ewing said she turned out Tuesday because she expects she will be working Nov. 6.
Ewing said she voted for President Barack Obama and Holden.
“I like what he (Obama) has done in the past four years, especially with Obamacare,” Ewing said.
The line at the State Archives wasn’t as long as it was at Coursey Boulevard, but people still filed in at a steady pace to cast their ballots.
Charles Duncan, 61, who went to the State Archives, said he voted Tuesday to avoid what he expects to be long lines Nov. 6.
Duncan said he voted for Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the presidential election because he thinks Romney will lead the United States in the right direction.
Duncan said he voted for Myers in the mayoral race because he wanted to see a fresh face in the office, as opposed to political lifers Holden and Walker.
“I think Baton Rouge needs a total change,” he said.
Six Baton Rouge Metro Council seats are up for grabs this year. Incumbent council members Donna Collins-Lewis, C. Denise Marcelle, Joel Boe, Tara Wicker and R.J. “Smokie” Bourgeois all face challengers, and eight Democrats are fighting for the District 2 seat vacated by term-limited Ulysses “Bones” Addison.
In the 6th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, a Republican, is running for re-election against Libertarian Rufus Holt Craig Jr. and no-party candidate Richard “RPT” Torregano. In the 2nd Congressional District, incumbent Democrat Cedric Richmond is facing four challengers.
Eight candidates are facing off for the District 5 seat on the Louisiana Supreme Court.
In the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeals District 2, Subdistrict 1-B race, Republican incumbent Mike McDonald faces fellow Republican Trudy M. White and Democrat Gideon T. Carter III for re-election.
In this year’s Baton Rouge City Court races, incumbent Alex “Brick” Wall faces Joel G. Porter, and Tiffany Foxworth and Cliff Ivey are running against incumbent Suzan Ponder.
Baton Rouge City Constable Reginald Brown Sr., a Democrat, faces Alester Jones, a Republican, in his bid for re-election.
Five candidates are vying for the Public Service Commission District 2 seat opened by Jimmy Field, who is retiring.
Nine constitutional amendments also are up for vote this year in Louisiana.
East Baton Rouge voters can cast their ballots at one of four registrar of voters offices during early voting: City Hall on St. Louis Street, the Clerk of Court’s Coursey Boulevard branch, the Baker Motor Vehicle Building on Main Street and the Louisiana State Archives Building on Essen Lane.