BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A record number of people have cast ballots in advance of the Nov. 6 election, as about one of every 10 registered Louisiana voters showed up for the week-long early voting period that wrapped up Tuesday.
The Secretary of State's Office said more than 280,000 people and counting - out of Louisiana's 2.9 million registered voters - have voted for next week's election, which includes the race between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Meg Casper, spokeswoman for the secretary of state, said early voting turnout in Louisiana has been nearly 25 percent higher than it was for the last presidential election in 2008.
Voting sites in some of the state's cities reported long lines snaking to the voting booths. Casper said some Baton Rouge locations reported wait times of up to two hours or more for people to cast their ballots.
"We look at it is an indication of how many people will vote on Election Day," she said.
Sixty-seven percent of Louisiana's registered voters turned out for the last presidential election, between Obama and Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain, in a state that overwhelmingly chose McCain.
Casper said the secretary of state's office thinks turnout could reach 70 percent for this year's competition for the White House.
Early voting began last week, with locations set up in every parish. One-third of the early ballots were cast in East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes, the state's most populous parishes.
In addition to the presidential race, also on the ballot are six congressional races, nine constitutional amendments, judgeships and local contests around the state. Baton Rouge has a mayor's race; New Orleans voters are choosing school board representatives; and several cities have city council seats on the ballot.
The U.S. House races have been largely low-key in most regions of Louisiana because incumbents haven't attracted well-financed challengers.
The exception is in southwest Louisiana and Acadiana, where two Republican congressmen, Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry, have been forced into the same district when the state lost a congressional seat after the latest federal census.
The 3rd District race has become an attack-heavy battle between the two men. Three other candidates are seeking the seat, but they've done little fundraising for their campaigns and little advertising.
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