Candidates in state and local races spent the day before polls open trying to persuade supporters to go vote in Saturday’s elections.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
Topping the list is the race to elect a new governor, but 1,069 offices are on the ballot across the state, including six other officials to be elected statewide.
Voters in East Baton Rouge Parish will cast ballots for tax renewals for the parish library system, the parish school system and the Downtown Development District. Zachary voters tackle a hotel-motel tax. Races in the parish include those for clerk of court and for City Court judge.
Notable races elsewhere in the region are those for parish president in Ascension, Iberville and West Feliciana parishes, and for sheriff in Livingston, West Baton Rouge, Tangipahoa, East Feliciana, Assumption and St. Helena parishes.
In addition, voters statewide will decide the fate of four proposed constitutional amendments — two of them aimed at providing more money for the state’s transportation needs. Voters in 27 parishes, including East Feliciana and Tangipahoa, have local tax propositions and other initiatives on their ballots.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler is predicting less than half the state’s registered voters will cast ballots. Less than 8 percent of the state’s 2.89 million registered voters cast their ballots early.
“No matter what your political views, it’s important to go vote on election day,” Schedler said Friday. “This year, there continues to be a large number of undecided voters, according to the polls, but there are lots of ways to get election information.”
At the top of the ballot, nine candidates are vying to replace two-term Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has to step down because of term limits.
The four best-funded candidates are Republicans U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, as well as Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards.
Only the top two vote-getters will move on to a Nov. 21 runoff.
Edwards began Friday working the room at Frank’s restaurant in Baton Rouge and then stayed to order a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich for breakfast, along with a cup of coffee. Afterward, he did an interview with a Lafayette radio station and then did a phone call with campaign calls canvassing captains, who are in charge of making sure his supporters get to the polls on Saturday.
Vitter and his wife Wendy held meetings with supporters in Metairie, Kenner, New Orleans and Ascension Parish and made calls to encourage folks to vote. He also was in a minor fender bender in Metairie while moving between meetings.
Angelle spent the day in his home base of Acadiana, making stops in Acadia, Vermilion and Lafayette parishes, where he visited courthouses and local businesses to shake hands with people and ask for their vote on Saturday.
Dardenne stayed in his home base of Baton Rouge. He attended the LSU 100 lunch, where the Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute honored the 100 fastest-growing companies owned or led by former LSU students. The lieutenant governor also answered questions on his campaign’s Facebook page.
Officials who run some of state government’s larger operations will be elected by statewide ballot.
Winners in the secretary of state’s and treasurer’s races will be settled Saturday. Republican Schedler is facing Democratic opposition from Baton Rouge lawyer Chris Tyson, and four-term Republican Treasurer John Kennedy from fellow Republican Jennifer Treadway, a Baton Rouge lawyer.
But other seats could require a runoff.
Because Dardenne is running for governor, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office is open and features four candidates: former Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, Jefferson Parish President John Young and Opelousas state Sen. Elbert Guillory, all Republicans, and East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden, a Democrat.
Multiple candidates are challenging incumbents — Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon and Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, all Republicans — leaving open the possibility of runoffs in those races.
Before Saturday’s election, more than half of the Louisiana Senate — 21 of 39 senators — and a majority of the Louisiana House — 53 of 105 representatives — already won re-election because no opponent signed up or the challenger dropped out.
When the results are in from Saturday’s primary election, at least another nine senators and 29 representatives will have won election because of head-to-head match-ups with opponents.
Elections officials are encouraging voters to use the GeauxVote app, where voters can find their polling location, as well as see what’s on the ballot and use it as a guide in the voting booth. They also remind voters to bring a photo ID to the polls.