There’s an old saying: My vote doesn’t count.
That cynical excuse for not voting certainly can’t be applied to the Louisiana governor’s race, the marquee on the ballots across the state Saturday.
After a somewhat lackluster period during the primary campaign, the Oct. 24 balloting seems to have energized the governor’s race between front-running Democrat John Bel Edwards and Republican David Vitter.
It’s not just that the two have exchanged nasty attacks in ads, although there have been heated exchanges when the two have appeared together in the runoff. It is striking that a Democrat is held to be leading in the polls; Louisiana has not elected a Democrat to statewide office for seven years. It might well be close.
For those seeking a reason not to vote, it’s easy to say a vote would not count, but we have a couple of exhibits to the contrary lately. One is the result in Kentucky earlier this year, when a Democrat leading in the polls not only lost but was trounced by the Republican nominee.
Another is closer to home. John Young, the outgoing parish president in Jefferson, ran for lieutenant governor and was edged out of the runoff spot on Oct. 24. He missed the runoff by fewer than 12,000 votes out of more than 1 million cast.
Votes do count, and the excitement generated by the governor’s race should translate into higher turnouts. The campaigns of Edwards and Vitter are heavily focusing on 18 parishes where there are other runoff elections, for the Legislature or local offices, in the hopes that turnout will be higher there. They call that hunting where the ducks are, but the fact is that votes anywhere could be decisive. There are runoffs for lieutenant governor and attorney general statewide on the ballot, as well as local runoffs.
These get-out-the-vote campaigns may be successful in encouraging more people to do their civic duty.
We hope so, as fewer than 39 percent of eligible voters participated in the primary.
Early voting in the runoff was up slightly, so that’s probably a good sign for participation in Saturday’s election. With polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., it’s easy to go vote. The Secretary of State’s Office in Louisiana has a website with extensive information about any details.
We urge everyone to go to the polls and cast an informed ballot.