Voter turnout for April 9 municipal election sluggish in some areas

Voter turnout for April 9 municipal election sluggish in some areas
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It might be election day but many people did not head to the polls. In some places turnout is expected to be less than 30 percent.

Early predictions from the Secretary of State's office show turnout in some areas as low as 10 percent.

Voters in 41 parishes took to the polls for municipal elections, but volunteers at some polling places say the numbers were low.

"They been coming in like one and two at a time and off and on. It hasn't been all day….not a steady stream but off and on," Barbara Douglas said.

Douglas was at the polls at Delmont Elementary School at 6:30 a.m. but by the afternoon she said less than 50 people had trickled through the doors.

"I thought maybe you know it would be a little bit more but it's been very slow," she added.

The lack of participation due partly to the small number of races on the ballot but also to the timing of the election.

Also, with so many events going on like the Blues Festival, the pull was just too strong for many to head to the polls.

Some residents at the event say they had no idea there even was an election.

"I really didn't," said Kizzy Adams. "I didn't know it was an election because I always vote. I go out and vote every time but had I known it was an election I probably would have voted before I came out here."

Though the choices may seem smaller than a presidential election, Meg Casper with the Secretary of State's Office said it's the runoffs and the tax proposals on the ballot for local elections that impact voters most.

"It's interesting because people sometimes are complaining about taxes more than ever but at the same time they don't turn out when those taxes come up for a vote yay or nay," Casper said. "It kind of tells the story of you're letting a few people decide for the many and so turnout is important especially in these local elections."

While final number won't be known until later, Casper said more than 35,000 people state-wide chose to take advantage of early voting.

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