More than 10 percent of Louisiana’s 2.9 million registered voters have already cast ballots in advance of the Nov. 6 election, Secretary of State Tom Schedler said Tuesday.
Final numbers were not available at press time but as of about 4 p.m. — with two hours left in the early voting period — the count stood at 327,489, Schedler said.
Schedler said Tuesday voting was also bypassing Monday’s high-water early balloting mark of nearly 53,000. “We are probably going to hit 65,000 today,” he said.
On Monday, early voting participation had already topped record-breaking numbers from 2008.
The number was up some 25 percent from four years ago, when the presidential race topped the statewide ballot as it does this time.
“It’s a very good sign. It’s good to see the interest of the voter and the turnout,” Schedler said. “You were starting to wonder about people getting so disengaged they didn’t care. This election has certainly brought out everybody.”
Schedler said the early voting levels bode well for a heavy Nov. 6 turnout.
The lines were long at many voting locations with one- to two-hour waits at some.
East Baton Rouge led the list of early voters followed by Orleans and St. Tammany. The three parishes accounted for about one-fourth of the ballots cast going into the final day.
In East Baton Rouge, there are contested mayor, Metro Council and a series of judicial seats.
Statewide, as many Democrats had voted early as Republicans and other party combined.
Early voting opened Oct. 23 and continued every day, except Sunday, through Tuesday.
With the presidential election comes an unusual Tuesday election in Louisiana where voters are accustomed to Saturday balloting.
Schedler earlier encouraged people to vote early to avoid potentially even longer lines Nov. 6. Schedler is predicting a big turnout because of the presidential contest. In 2008, voter turnout was 67.2 percent, in 2004 it was 66.9 percent, and in 2000, it was 63.5 percent.