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Baton Rouge's Nancy LaGarde casts her vote on the last day for early voting, Tuesday, October 30, 2018, at the State Archives in Baton Rouge, La.

Louisiana’s 2017 statewide ballot was relatively thin, with a special election for state treasurer, along with races for mayor and city council in New Orleans and a smattering of local elections or propositions in other communities. Sadly, many stayed home from the polls.

Only 14 percent of voters cast ballots statewide, even though the New Orleans races helped to boost turnout in the city.

There appear to be good indicators that today's election won't quite be as sparse.

Early voting is increasingly popular, and more than 271,000 ballots were cast in that weeklong period this year. That is a record for a nonpresidential election, although only about half of the big turnout in 2016 when Donald Trump won a Louisiana landslide. There were another 36,000 mail-in absentee ballots.

Are voters energized by the hotly competitive national election? That’s the theory of pollster John Couvillon of Baton Rouge, who looked at the patterns of early-voter turnout.

He suggested that "just as conservatives were energized by external events (Kavanaugh hearings and reports of robust early voting across the country), local reports of high early voting turnout were played up in the news media, and arguably put the election on the Democrats’ radar as well."

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The top early voting parishes were East Baton Rouge (29,669 early/absentee votes), Orleans (28,173), and St Tammany (25,818).

Obviously, neither Trump nor now-Mr. Justice Brett Kavanaugh are on the ballot, but it is a significant election nevertheless. With the rest of the nation, Louisiana must vote, as it does every two years, on members of the U.S. Congress. All six of Louisiana's members of the House face some opposition, including women running reasonably well-funded campaigns (Democrats Mimi Methvin in southwest Louisiana, Tammy Savoie in southeastern Louisiana). Still, all the incumbents are heavily favored by the pundits to win re-election.

There is another special election this year — this one, to fill the unexpired term of former Secretary of State Tom Schedler, who resigned amid accusations of sexual harassment of an employee. And there are a number of judgeships or other local offices on the ballot, including a few in Orleans and in some parts of East Baton Rouge parishes.

Ballots for each jurisdiction are available at the secretary of state's office website, https://www.sos.la.gov.

Six constitutional amendments and a local-option election on regulation of fantasy sports leagues popular on the internet in each parish are also on the ballot. Our recommendations on these issues are here: www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/opinion/our_views/article_b1effb04-dd37-11e8-914f-67e0c4eaf5b1.html.

We urge Louisiana voters to cast informed ballots at the polls, open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.