The East Baton Rouge Parish Registrar of Voters staff spent Saturday fielding calls from citizens reaching out for clarification on district lines for the St. George ballot measure.
Around 18 employees manned the phones at the office throughout the day, answering questions from across the parish on everything from voter registration to precinct location, Registrar of Voters Steve Raborn said.
Except for one isolated incident that came to their attention, Raborn said, most calls regarding St. George came from voters who believed incorrectly that they lived inside the proposed city's boundaries and could vote on the incorporation issue.
“I’ve helped several of our employees look up different cases of that today,” Raborn said. “People who thought they were in St. George, but when we go to the map, they are clearly out. Close, but out.”
Bill Benedetto, a retired Entergy spokesperson, encountered a different problem when he and his wife arrived at their polling place, located at a BREC facility off Drusilla Lane.
Benedetto said they live in an area they knew was within the proposed St. George district. But when he and his wife went into their separate voting booths, he said, the St. George ballot measure was not available for either to select.
After flagging down one of the commissioners, he was able to call the Registrar of Voters Office, which rectified the issue.
Raborn said when there is a split precinct and voters are restricted in what measures they can vote on, they are given a piece of paper at check in that directs a commissioner to properly code the machine with the correct ballot information for that voter.
In Benedetto’s case, Raborn suspects there may have been miscommunication between the check-in table and the commissioner overseeing the voting machine.
He said most of those casting ballots at Benedetto's precinct were not eligible to vote on St. George.
“We encourage voters to call us if they have questions,” Raborn said Saturday. “Even more importantly, if they have a question or concern while they’re in the voting booth, you ask your question and get it answered before you cast your ballot.”