Low voter turnout expected for special election

Low voter turnout expected for special election

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Generally, there’s a rush to the polls for presidential elections or the governors race, but special elections seem to take a backseat in the eyes of the voter.

ELECTION: Multiple special elections heading to runoffs

“The reality is these elections around the state today are going to draw awfully low turnouts, maybe below 20 percent in some cases,” said Jim Engster, a political analyst.

Right now, seven seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs. Two seats were once filled by lawmakers in the Greater Baton Rouge area.

Former District 62 Rep. Kenny Havard is now the West Feliciana Parish president, and Major Thibaut with District 18 now oversees Pointe Coupee Parish.

Engster predicts a runoff election to fill those spots. That would mean candidates could be facing four elections in the next 9 months.

“Legislative sessions during election years are usually not eventful, but these lawmakers, as soon as they take the oath, they’re going to be off and running for another four-year term,” Engster said.

That’s a lot of heavy lifting for the candidates, but also a big request for voters.

Although these elections won’t sway control of the house Engster said votes in these elections still matter.

“As an electorate we haven’t voted as frequently in statewide offices as we do in national elections,” Engster said. “In fact, President Trump received more votes than John Bel Edwards and David Vitter combined. They’re seven elections across the state, that’s a substantial number. Hopefully people will realize the importance of these elections and get out in more robust numbers."

State representative seats in districts 12, 17, 18, 26, 27, 47, and 62 in 13 parishes across the state are up for election.

The parishes include Calcasieu, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Lincoln, Ouachita, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Union, Vermilion, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana parishes.

The 2019 legislative session begins April 6.

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