In The News › What’s on your ballot: early voting begins Tuesday across Louisiana

What’s on your ballot: early voting begins Tuesday across Louisiana
Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News

Early voting begins Tuesday at locations across Louisiana for the Nov. 6 presidential election, in which voters will also consider nine amendments to the state constitution, and a handful of hot-button local races and issues.
Early voting has become increasingly popular across the state in recent years and is seen as a good predictor of turnout for election day. This year, early voting runs Oct. 23 through Oct. 30 at sites across Louisiana, from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., except Sunday when the voting sites are closed. A sample ballot for your precinct can be found here.

In Orleans Parish, voters may cast early ballots at the Registrar of Voters office at City Hall, the Algiers Courthouse, and the voting machine warehouse, 8870 Chef Menteur Highway.

In Jefferson Parish, the sites are at the Joseph S. Yenni Building, the Charles Odom Sr. Service Center, 5001 West Bank Expressway, Marrero; and 408 Minor St., Kenner.

St. Tammany Parish sites are: the Justice Center in Downtown Covington, The Towers Building, 520 Old Spanish Trail, Slidell; Parish Council Building on Koop Drive, Mandeville.

St. Charles Parish voting sites are at the Court House on the West Bank and the Arterbury Building on the East Bank.

All other parishes conduct early voting at the parish Registrar of Voters office. Locations can be found here.

At the top of the ballot will be the presidential race, with Gov. Mitt Romney expected to take the state’s eight electoral votes in the hard-fought contest pitting him against President Obama. Republican Sen. John McCain easily won the state in 2008.

Voters statewide will consider nine constitutional amendments, dealing with matters as diverse as the gun rights to pensions for convicted public officials. The non-partisan groups Council for a Better Louisiana, Public Affairs Research Council and Bureau of Governmental Research have analyzed and taken positions on several of the amendments and all three groups urge voters to study the amendments beforehand to minimize delays at the polls.

All of the state’s congressional seats are on the ballot, including the District 1 and 2 races which cover much of the metro area, and the newly-redrawn District 6 race, which includes parts of St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes. Incumbents Steve Scalise, Cedric Richmond and Bill Cassidy face several challengers in those districts. The third congressional district, which formerly covered some parts of the metro area including Lafourche and Terrebonne, shifts farther westward because of redistricting and pits Republican Rep. Charles Boustany against fellow Republican Rep. Jeff Landry and three other candidates.

Locally, one of the most anticipated ballot items may be whether to extend tolls on the Crescent City Connection will be decided by voters in Jefferson, Orleans and Plaquemines Parishes. Supporters say the tolls are necessary to fund operations, police patrols and maintenance on the bridge and surrounding area. Opponents question the state’s handling of the toll revenue. If approved, tolls would continue for the next 20 years. If voters reject the tolls, they will expire at the end of this year.

In Orleans Parish, two City Council seats are on the ballot. Five candidates are running to replace Jon Johnson in City Council District E. Johnson resigned in July after pleading guilty to federal charges. Four candidates are running for the vacant District B seat, formerly held by Stacy Head, who now serves at-large.

Voters in Orleans Parish will also consider a change to how at-large council members are elected, changing the current system (where the top two vote-getters are elected or advance to a runoff) to a method where candidates sign up to run for one of two distinct at-large seats, starting with the 2014 election.

In addition to a number of judgeships, Orleans Parish voters will decide on school board races, important since the next board will choose a new superintendent and also chart a course for the future of the schools, many of which will return to local control after being run by the state or charters since Hurricane Katrina.

On the topic of school boards, voters in all but two Louisiana school districts will decide whether to limit their school board members to three consecutive four-year terms. Jefferson Parish is one local exception, since it already imposes term limits on school board members.

Kenner voters will consider two city charter amendments, including one that limits the mayor’s contracting authority and the other which restricts politicking on the part of politically-appointed city workers.

There are a number of local tax propositions on area ballots including several in St. Tammany Parish. One proposal before Covington voters would allow an existing sales tax to be rededicated to fund law enforcement and other city departments. Another proposal would renew a tax to fund public health services, including suicide prevention efforts and community health centers.

In Tangipahoa Parish, there is a council race on the ballot, as well as mayor, council and police chief races in Amite City. Roseland and the Village of Tangipahoa will also elect a mayor and police chief.
For more information on early voting or your local ballot, click here.

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