BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Early voting is still in full swing going into the weekend and thousands of Louisianans have already cast their ballots for the midterm election.
During the first three full days of early voting over 180,000 Louisianians voted.
So far, the Republicans are outvoting the democrats by a couple of percentage points, which is not usually the case as democrats typically hit the polls early.
“Actually, this is the first time that we can find and record that registered Republicans are outvoting registered Democrats,” said Joel Watson, Deputy Secretary of State for Outreach Services.
A lot of the red votes were carried in by the mail-in ballots that are now limited to people over the age of 65 or a list of specific exceptions.
JMC Analytics pollster John Couvillon said the weekend voting could swing things back with three more days of early voting to follow. So far the minority voters are lagging behind according to Couvillon. He said the early voting is typically around 30% Black, but so far it is about 24%.
“Looking at previous election cycles, the only ones that I’ve seen that have had this racial and partisan tint to it, there are two,” Couvillon said. “Number one, the December 2016 runoff where John Kennedy won by a landslide. Number two, the number of the 2010 Senate race, which was not only a red wave but David Vitter, who was then the senator, was re-elected in a 20-point landslide.”
Interest in mail-in ballots are remaining higher than normal — despite it being more restricted than during the pandemic. In the last midterm election in 2018, about 50% of voters cast their ballot early.
“While the early voting percentage is going down, I do think there is a new normal, as it were, of early voting,” Couvillon said. “My gut feeling right now is 30% of the electorate, which is still decent. It’s certainly not the stratospheric levels that it was in 2020.”
It is the halfway point of early voting, there could be a shift but Couvillon said the trends seem to be following previous years.
Early voting continues until Nov. 1 on Tuesday, except for Sunday. But if voters can’t make it out just then, they can wait until Nov. 8 on Election Day and vote at their precinct.