LAFAYETTE, LA — Early voting began last Saturday and concludes this Saturday.
Friday afternoon, we called the parish registrars across Acadiana for their turnout. While many say they are seeing more voters, a couple say it’s no different previous gubernatorial elections.
Lafayette Parish Registrar Charlene Meaux Menard said she is disappointed with their turnout this year. “I was hoping it would be like this all week,” she said.
Friday was the busiest day of early voting for the parish this week. As of five Friday afternoon, her office had seen 9,500 total voters.
“As of last Saturday, I was kinda disappointed”, Menard admitted, “But as the days progress, we have gotten more and more voters every day”.
More voters, but not the numbers the parish expected or is even used to. Ask Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court Louis Perret.
He says Lake Charles, New Orleans and Baton Rouge have all seen substantial increases in early voting, but Lafayette Parish is down 7% from where we were four years ago.
“We think that Lafayette should be treated as importantly as Baton Rouge and New Orleans, but in order for that to occur, we need the citizens to fulfill their civic duty. We need you to come out and vote,” Perret urged.
One of the 9,500 who answered the call in Lafayette Parish is Robert Brown.
“My third try to come out here- you can’t park,” Brown told News 10. He finally got to the polls after driving circles around the parish’s only polling place on two different mornings.
“A lot of the other parishes have larger turnouts, and Lafayette is one of the lowest. I think it’s because of the parking,” Brown added.
Officials agree. “It seems like it takes longer to find a place to park than it does to vote,” Perret said.
Menard says there are only about 20 parking spots for a polling place that saw almost 90 times that number Friday.
She says it’s an issue they are trying to address next year.
“I think we’re working on possibly another early voting site in the future, so hopefully that would help,” Menard said. “It would be on the ground floor where it would be more accessible for our voters.”
There is only one day left to vote early, and the best news is you won’t have to worry about parking. The polls are open Saturday from 8:30 AM to 6 PM, and Menard says if you are in line at closing time, you will still get to vote.
To make your time at the polls more efficient, officials suggest bringing a personal draft ballot. You can print yours at Geauxvote.com