VOTER VIGOR: Early turnout breaks records in Louisiana runoff election

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BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA/WGMB) — Louisiana’s early voting numbers for its 2019 runoff election show that more voters than ever are eager to have their say before Election Day.

Roughly 500,000 Louisianians cast ballots in the seven-day early voting period that ended Nov. 9. The turnout marks the state’s highest ever during a non-presidential cycle.

Political statisticians owe the record vigor to convenience, ahead of the Nov. 16 election.

“I think the attitude is: Why wait around until Election Day to vote if you can just get it out of the way?” political analyst John Couvillon said.

Early voting turnout particularly rose among black voters, from 25 percent in the primary to 31 percent in the runoff. Couvillon claims the jump favors Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who faces a challenge from Republican businessman Eddie Rispone.

“You have just enough white voters who will still vote Democratic, but when you combine that with the fact that typically 95-plus percent of black voters vote Democratic, that’s how a Democrat gets to 50 percent in Louisiana,” Couvillon said.

It’s still unclear whether the early turnout alone will be enough to cement who wins. Republicans hope President Trump’s Bossier City rally Thursday will lure Rispone’s backers to the polls Saturday.

“You still have relatively high Republican enthusiasm, but now it has been joined by the Democrats,” Couvillon said. “That’s what has pushed the numbers to new heights.”

Voters can cast their ballots between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Election Day.

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