Voting machines moved to polling places; high turnout expected - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Voting machines moved to polling places; high turnout expected

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New Orleans, La. -- At a warehouse in New Orleans East, there was a parade of sorts Monday.

Workers methodically rolled out hundreds of voting machines and loaded them on trucks for delivery to the city's polling places, ahead of Tuesday's general election.

"This election has stirred up a lot of importance, plus we have some local issues where there's been a lot of competition and campaigns and forums, so the presidential election is going to bring out everyone," said Clerk of Criminal Court Arthur Morrell, who is charged with making sure voting machines are in place for each election in the city.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler predicts that 70 percent of the state's electorate will show up at the polls. And there was record early voting, according to Schedler.

"There's a strong pro-Obama vote, as well as a strong anti-Obama in the state and that seems to be what's really driving the turnout.  And as well we have a lot of local elections and so that will be getting people to the polls," said UNO political scientist Ed Chervenak.

Surveys taking the pulse of the national electorate generally show President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney in a dead heat.

"They seem to be fairly consistent, in the same direction," Chervenak said of the national polls.

He added that, even though Hurricane Sandy gave the president a little bump, the race will be a nail biter to the very end.  "It is too close to call because a lot of it does come down to turnout, you know, things like weather can affect whether people show up to vote," stated Chervenak.

Morrell's staff said there are 366 precincts at 128 locations around the city.  "At least two voting machines per precinct.  Some will have three," said Morrell of their election day readiness.

And Morrell said the number of registered voters in the city is currently 250,088. Four years ago the number was 283,722.

Morrell said, to prevent perpetually long lines at the polls, his office has a strategy which involves monitoring any buildup of voters outside polling places.

"If the lines get long we're going to start having smaller lines outside by precinct… You may have someone in one precinct with 50 down [the line] and there's no one at their desk, so we're going to have them identified by their precinct so, when they come up, if there's no one at their table they can walk right in," said Morrell."

The Secretary of State's office said voters will be asked for a picture ID -- that can be a driver's license or other ID with their name and signature.  People without picture ID's will be asked identifying questions by poll workers and asked to sign an identification affidavit before voting, according to the SOS's website.

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