Are national politics driving early voting?

The early voting process, still somewhat of a novelty in Louisiana but catching on with voters like wildfire, has consultants and political junkies scratching their heads this year.

The one thing everyone can seem to agree on, however, is that early voting is a huge hit, with more than 164,000 voters participating throughout Saturday — despite the various college football games that were being waged — and Monday and Tuesday.

During the first three days of early voting in the last gubernatorial cycle four years ago, only 88,000 voters participated, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

John Couvillon, president of JMC Analytics and Polling, and others have noted that Louisiana’s early voting process is conceding with a push by Democrats in the U.S. House to initiate impeachment hearings into the administration of President Donald Trump.

Could such national political news be motivating early voting in the Bayou State?

“It’s an off-the-wall theory,” Couvillon said, adding that GOP voters are nonetheless outpacing Democrats in early voting here so far, as compared to 2015. “Republicans are fired up.”

So far 43 percent of early voters were registered Democrats and 42 percent were Republicans, compared to 51 percent and 35 percent respectively for the first three days of 2015.

There are, of course, other theories, beginning with the fact that early voting is simply growing in popularity.

Consultants involved in this year’s race for governor say the top drawer campaigns are catering more to earl voting than ever, from direct mail and radio to traditional get-out-the-vote efforts.

There’s also something to be said about aggregate registration trends over the past term, and whether they correlate to turnout by party.

Of the 2.9 million voters registered in October of 2015, 1.3 million were Democrats and 813,000 were Republicans. Of the nearly 3 million voters registered as of this week, 1.2 million were Democrats and 918,000 Republicans.

 

About Jeremy Alford 205 Articles
Jeremy Alford is an independent journalist and the co-author of LONG SHOT, which recounts Louisiana's 2015 race for governor. His bylines appear regularly in The New York Times and he has served as an on-camera analyst for CNN, FOX News, MSNBC and C-SPAN.

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