As Louisiana residents go to the polls today to select a slate of state leaders, along with weighing in on various local elections, they’re likely to feel a sense of relief. Today’s balloting means that Louisiana’s autumn election cycle is nearly over. Runoffs in today’s election will be decided Nov. 21.
Polls open today at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Be prepared to bring a form of photo identification when you go to the polls. The Louisiana Secretary of State’s website, www.sos.la.gov/ElectionsAndVoting/Vote/Pages/default.aspx, has helpful information on how to vote, including a way to find your precinct.
Today’s election includes races for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer, commissioner of agriculture and forestry and commissioner of insurance. Various parishes and municipalities throughout south Louisiana have races for local offices, along with important tax propositions.
Additionally, voters will decide the fate of four proposed amendments to the state constitution. Amendment 1 would change the nature of the state’s rainy day fund, setting aside some of the money for infrastructure needs. Amendment 2 would create a revolving loan fund that local governments could use for infrastructure. Amendment 3 would broaden the kinds of issues that can be considered in a fiscal session of the Legislature. Amendment 4 seeks to address an arcane property tax issue that arose in West Carroll Parish.
The Advocate’s editorial positions on the amendments and several area tax issues are available at www.theadvocate.com.
Louisiana amends its constitution too much, placing a slew of narrow procedural issues into a document that’s meant to outline broad principles of government, not administrative minutiae. But by Louisiana standards, the number of proposed amendments on today’s ballot is pretty small, and we hope that trend continues. Last year, voters navigated a whopping 14 proposed constitutional amendments. Since the state’s latest constitution was drafted in 1974, it’s been amended 181 times, according to the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, or PAR, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that studies state issues.
PAR has a handy guide to the constitutional amendments on today’s ballot at reports.parlouisiana.org/2015/parCAweb/2015_Constitutional%20AmendmentsFIN.pdf.
The Council for a Better Louisiana, another good-government group, also has great resources for today’s election at www.cabl.org.
The Bureau of Governmental Research, which focuses on New Orleans-area issues but also addresses a number of statewide concerns, has guidance for today’s election available at www.bgr.org.
It’s been a relatively low-key election season in Louisiana, which is perhaps a disappointment for those who embrace state politics as a form of theater. But elections aren’t just spectacles. They should be a participatory exercise, and the most important participants are the voters themselves.
We urge those who haven’t already done so to go to the polls today and cast an informed vote.