Racial, gender makeup of voters will play important role in election

Racial, gender makeup of voters will play important role in election

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The makeup of people voting early for the Nov. 4 election could have a big impact on the outcome on two significant races, one being the contest for U.S. Senate.

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, called it "an election like no other."

It is clear Louisiana voters are not wasting any time casting their ballots. If the long lines are not a dead giveaway, Schedler said the numbers are telling.

At the top of the ticket is the race for U.S. Senate between Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu and top challengers, Republicans Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness.

"It's a very different race than we had in a long, long time, possibly ever," Schedler said.

Schedler reported when polling places closed on Saturday, just over 150,000 had voted. Of those, he said, 100,000 were White; over 47,000 were African American.

He added, 79,000 were Democrats, 52,000 Republicans, and 20,000 with other party affiliations.

Schedler also noted a population swing following Hurricane Katrina has surfaced in the early voting tally.

"East Baton Rouge Parish was out stripping New Orleans as far as votes being made and that's pretty indicative with the new census and election results and registrants that Baton Rouge would start matching off with New Orleans to a greater degree," Schedler said.

Orleans closed the polls on Saturday with 14,224 early votes and East Baton Rouge with 13,549. Schedler said had it not been for the LSU-Ole Miss football game, East Baton Rouge could have very well passed Orleans.

Race and party affiliation play important roles in determining the outcome, but WAFB Political Analyst, Jim Engster, said this time around gender should not be ignored.

"The curious thing is 14,000 more women than men have voted. That means that women will pack a wallop in this election. The female vote could ultimately determine who wins," Engster said.

Engster said that could be good news for Landrieu or not.

"In statewide offices, republicans have every office except Senator Landrieu. So there are many democrats who have the blue banner who vote red. In Louisiana it comes down to which democrats are voting," Engster said.

Engster said the final November Election Day numbers will be a good indication of what he calls "the real deal," or run off on Dec. 6.

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