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While wearing full body PPE poll worker Gail Perret, left, rewards Kathryn Attwood with a sticker for casting her vote in the Presidential primary on Saturday, July 11, 2020, at Lafayette Middle School.

Lafayette election officials received about 250 calls Saturday, most of them from people complaining that they couldn't vote for the candidate of their choice in the closed-primary presidential preference election.

All of the problems were because the individuals were registered with one political party and wanted to vote for a candidate in the other political party, Lafayette Parish Registrar of Voters Charlene Menard said Monday.

"Of all the phone calls we received," she said, "not one was our error."

During a closed-primary election, voters registered as Republicans can only vote for Republicans and voters registered as Democrats can only vote for Democrats. This happens every four years in Louisiana just before presidential elections.

A Lafayette Parish woman wearing a Trump hat posted a video on Facebook on Saturday saying she was not allowed to vote and putting the blame on election officials, alleging corruption.

Menard and Clerk of Court Louis Perret both contacted the woman, providing her with her voter registration information that shows she is registered as a Democrat. She originally was registered as a Democrat, switched it to Republican around 2011, then got online and switched her voter registration back to Democrat, they said.

As recently as April, she updated her address and kept her registration as a Democrat, Perret said. 

"Her allegations are completely baseless and false," he added.

Around 20 voters visited the Registrar's Office on Monday morning to change their party affiliation, Menard said, primarily from Democrat to Republican.

It's not unusual to get 200 complaints during such a closed-primary election, she added.

Menard asked voters to be informed of what will be on their ballot before the Nov. 3 presidential election because there will be ballot blackouts once again for Republican Executive Committee, Lafayette City Marshal, judges, justices of the peace and constables.


Email Claire Taylor at ctaylor@theadvocate.com.