Early voter turnout solid but not a record-breaker

John Dupont

Early voter turnout in Iberville Parish did not bring the record-breaking numbers other parishes reported, but the final tally remained solid, according to the Iberville Parish Registrar of Voters Office.

A total of 3,524 cast their votes during the nine-day period which ended Saturday, according to Registrar of Voters Melissa Sanchez Bourgoyne.

"It was a very good turnout, even though we had only one local issue on the ballot," she said. "Our highest turnouts traditionally reflect big local races, and we only had one for this election."

The race between Shalonda Allen and Ernest "Bayboy" Allen for the District 1 seat on the Iberville Parish Council is the only local item on the Nov. 16 ballot.

The statewide ballot is highlighted by the gubernatorial runoff between Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards and Republican challenger Eddie Rispone, a Baton Rouge businessman.

The ballot also included the Secretary of State runoff between Republican incumbent Kyle Ardoin – a West Baton Rouge Parish native who now lives in Baton Rouge – and Democratic challenger Gwen Collins Greenup of Clinton.

In the demographic breakdown from early voting, a total of 1,900 white residents participated, along with 1,578 African Americans. The total for "others" – Asian and Hispanic – amounted to 46.

The strong turnout for African Americans comes in the wake of a lower than expected turnout for that sector in the primary race. Only 26 percent of the African American voters showed up at the polls for the Oct. 12 election, a statistic that polling experts have cited for Gov. John Bel Edwards not winning the race in the primary.

The low turnout in the primary has since sparked a push in the African American community – particularly in the churches – for voter participation in the runoff.

The push may have been reflected in the breakdown based on party affiliation.

A total of 2,341 Democrats participated in early voting, along with 814 Republicans and 369 listed as "other."

The final tally also shows 3,203 who voted in person and 321 by mail.