The weekend marks the start of early voting in the presidential primary in Louisiana.
Voters will have a chance to cast early ballots through Feb. 27. Early voting runs daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., except for Sunday. Election day is March 5.
Early voting locations vary by parish and frequently are not the same election day voting location.
A list of early voting locations is available on the secretary of state’s website.
Only voters who are registered to one of the two political parties will be able to vote for their party’s nominee because, unlike most elections in Louisiana, the presidential primary is a closed primary.
In the Democratic Primary, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faces U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, plus a handful of lesser-known candidates. Louisiana has 58 Democratic delegates at stake.
On the Republican side, 47 delegates are up for grabs. The GOP’s slate of candidates includes businessman Donald Trump, of New York; U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, of Texas, and Marco Rubio, of Florida; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Dr. Ben Carson. That group could be whittled down by the time Louisiana’s votes are counted. The March 5 primary date follows the “super Tuesday” SEC primary on March 1.
The Louisiana Democratic Party and the GOP also will have closed state central committee and parish executive committee elections.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler told a House panel this week that the presidential primary will cost the state about $3.5 million to run because the state covers the costs instead of the parties.
Voters who aren’t party affiliated may still have local elections to vote in.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, parishes with open local races include: Acadia, Beauregard, Caddo, Caldwell, Catahoula, Concordia, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberville, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Red River, St. Helena, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and West Baton Rouge.
“This is an election where voters should absolutely check to see what’s on their ballot before they go vote,” Schedler said in statement. “Louisiana has a large number of unaffiliated or no party voters who aren’t eligible to participate in the (presidential primary), but should vote in any local elections for their area. Early voting is a convenient way to get your ballot cast ahead of time and is typically quick and easy.”