Mary Tutwiler

Early voting more than doubles state records

by Mary Tutwiler

A long line snaked out of the Iberia Parish Registrar of Voters office yesterday afternoon, curled around the rotunda and stretched as far as the art deco doors of the Iberia Parish Courthouse. Everybody was talking about how surprised they were that there was about a 45 minute wait, but nobody seemed to mind. “I brought my mother,” said one voter, who declined to give her name. “I might be busy on voting day, and I didn’t want to miss it. This vote is too important.”

That seems to be the attitude statewide, where early voting numbers exploded past records by over 50 percent. In the 2007 state-wide race for governor, 140,933 voters turned out early to cast their ballot. This morning, the Secretary of State’s Web site posts this year’s total early vote count at 266,880. Of the early votes cast state-wide 58 percent were by registered Democrats, 28 percent Republican and 13 percent other.

Lafayette Parish cast 9,194 votes, 4994 more than in 2007. Of those, according to Secretary of State Jay Dardenne’s office, 4709 were by Democrats, 3021 by Republicans and 1468 by those registered as other. The voting numbers were also broken down by race; whites cast 5736 votes, there were 3134 votes cast by blacks and 328 by those who listed themselves as other. Women out voted men by 489. In Iberia Parish, 5612 people voted over the seven day period that started on October 21.