Secretary of State says long lines expected on Election Day

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Long lines are in store for those of you heading to the polls Tuesday. Secretary of State Tom Schedler says he's expecting a 71 percent voter turnout. That's even higher than the turnout for the 2008 presidential election.

Some tried to beat the rush of Election Day, choosing instead to vote early. Schedler says there were lines on some of those days.

"Hugely ran an hour, hour and a half, hour forty-five...went smoothly," Schedler said, addressing the Press Club in Baton Rouge on Monday.

One thing he says he would like to see changed in the future, to help with some of the long lines, is adding more sites for people to early vote. Especially during presidential election years.

More than 345,000 people voted early in Louisiana. Schedler says that's 21 percent more than in the past.

Tuesday, voters should expect to see more long lines. The Secretary of State says along with people lining up because it is a presidential year, hot local races will also bring out record numbers.

"Not to mention a very contested mayoral election in Baton Rouge," he said.

At 6 a.m. Monday, voting machines were on the move in East Baton Rouge Parish. 12,000 machines are making their way to precincts around the state.

"If a machine breaks and we do not have a backup machine, we will immediately move to a paper ballot."

Schedler says dealing with electronics, the unexpected could happen.

While not all of Louisiana's 2.9 million registered voters will cast a vote, those who do will have three minutes in the voting booth. When asked why there is a three minute-limit, Schedler said that's the law and it helps move the lines along.

"If everyone took three minutes, we could do 20 voters in an hour, per machine," said Schedler.

You will not be timed, but you could be asked to hurry up. Voters don't necessarily have to make a choice in every category. What you do mark on your ballot will be counted.

Most importantly, Schedler says have your photo ID ready, study the sample ballot and get to the polls on time.

"If you're in line by 8 p.m., you get to vote." He says that could mean in some locations people could actually be voting one to two hours after the polls have closed.

The U.S. Department of Justice will have some people monitoring polling places in East Carroll Parish, just checking in to see that the process flows smoothly.

We're also told voting has been extended for one group. Members of the military who are using a paper ballot have until Wednesday to get them in.

Polls open Tuesday at 6 a.m.

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