Early voting begins Saturday for the Dec. 6 runoff election in which voters statewide will choose between incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger Bill Cassidy for a U.S. Senate seat and decide many other contests.
Early voting will continue daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Nov. 29 at parish registrar of voters offices and, in some parishes, other designated sites. However, there will be no voting on Sunday, Thanksgiving or the day after Thanksgiving — leaving a total of five voting days instead of the usual seven. After Wednesday, early voting locations will be open only one day, Nov. 29.
On the ballot in the New Orleans area, besides the Senate contest, are runoffs for numerous other offices, including Plaquemines Parish president and district attorney in St. Tammany Parish.
Voters in St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes will be among those voting in the 6th Congressional District race between former Gov. Edwin Edwards, a Democrat, and former Jindal administration official Garret Graves, a Republican, for the congressional seat now held by Cassidy.
Except in St. John, all area voters will cast ballots for a seat on the state Public Service Commission. Incumbent Eric Skrmetta faces challenger Forest Bradley Wright.
In Orleans Parish, the ballot also includes a Civil District Court judgeship, a Juvenile Court judgeship and a 10-year, 4.97-mill Orleans Parish School Board tax proposition to pay for school repairs and maintenance by shifting the purpose of an existing tax. A “yes” vote would not raise anyone’s taxes, but if the measure fails, the existing School Board tax will begin to shrink in 2016 and disappear by 2021, when the debt it was earmarked to finance will be paid off. The ballot measure would extend the tax through 2025.
In Jefferson Parish, the ballot includes a 24th Judicial District Court judgeship, a 1st Parish Court judgeship, two School Board seats, a justice of the peace, a constable and 11 amendments to the parish’s Home Rule Charter.
In St. Tammany Parish, the headline race is the runoff for district attorney of the 22nd Judicial District, which also includes Washington Parish. Warren Montgomery and Brian Trainor are vying to succeed longtime DA Walter Reed, who chose not to run again. There also are runoffs for mayor, police chief and three Board of Aldermen seats in Pearl River, plus a mayor’s runoff in Folsom.
The St. Bernard Parish ballot includes a 34th Judicial District Court judgeship, three constables, an amendment to the parish charter and 12 millage propositions, mostly renewals, for libraries, recreation, roads, fire protection, levees and other purposes.
In Plaquemines Parish, besides the runoff for parish president between Amos Cormier Jr. and Jerry Hodnett, the ballot includes two Parish Council seats and a School Board seat.
The St. Charles Parish ballot includes three justices of the peace in addition to the Edwards-Graves 6th Congressional District race and the Public Service Commission contest.
In St. John the Baptist Parish, voters will cast ballots for only two offices: U.S. senator and 6th Congressional District representative.
Orleans Parish voters can cast early ballots in Room 1W23 at City Hall, 1300 Perdido St.; Room 105 at the Algiers Courthouse, 225 Morgan St.; the Voting Machine Warehouse, 8870 Chef Menteur Highway; and on the second floor of the Lake Vista Community Center, 6500 Spanish Fort Blvd.
Jefferson Parish also has four early voting sites: Suite 502 at the Joseph Yenni Building, 1221 Elmwood Park Blvd., Harahan; Suite C-2 at the Charles Odom Building, 5001 West Bank Expressway, Marrero; 408 Minor St., Kenner; and the Grand Isle Community Center, 3211 La. 1. Call (504) 349-5690 for information on when the Grand Isle site will be open.
In St. Tammany Parish, voters can go to the St. Tammany Justice Center Parking Garage, 601 N. Jefferson Ave., Covington; the first floor of the Towers Building, 520 Old Spanish Trail, Slidell; and Building B at the parish Administrative Complex, 21490 Koop Drive, Mandeville.
There is one early voting site in St. Bernard Parish, in Room 104 at the Government Building, 8201 W. Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette.
St. Charles Parish has two early voting sites: Room 189 at the Parish Courthouse, 15045 River Road, Hahnville, and the Artebury Building, 14564 River Road, New Sarpy.
St. John the Baptist Parish voters may go to Room 112 at 1801 W. Airline Highway, LaPlace, or to the courthouse at 2393 La. 18 in Edgard.
Plaquemines Parish voters may cast ballots at Room 107 in the Government Building, 28028 La. 23, Port Sulphur; the Belle Chasse Library, 8442 La. 23; and the Rev. Percy Griffin Community Center, 15577 La. 15, Davant. Call (504) 934-3620 for information on hours at the latter site.
More information on candidates and voting procedures is available at the secretary of state’s website, www.geauxvote.com.
Meanwhile, a West Monroe legislator said Friday he plans to go to court next week to seek an extension of the early voting period because of the loss of two days to the Thanksgiving holiday. State Rep. Marcus Hunter said he asked Secretary of State Tom Schedler to use his authority to keep the usual seven-day voting period, but Schedler said that would violate a state law that says registrars of voters’ offices “shall” be closed for state holidays.
“I intend to move forward unless between now and Monday he (Schedler) has a change of heart and at least decides to pick up Friday,” said Hunter, a Democrat.