Election officials report low voter turnout on CCC toll vote - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Election officials report low voter turnout on CCC toll vote

Jefferson Parish, La - Voters in Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines Parishes headed to the polls Saturday to decide if tolls should return to the Crescent City Connection. Despite being one of the most controversial issues on the ballot, election officials say turnout was low.

In Orleans Parish, voters trickled in to polling places Saturday. Voter Terry Lonatro said, "We feel strongly about voting against the Crescent City tolls, we definitely want that to go down in flames."

Clerk of Court Arthur Morrell, says voter turnout in Orleans Parish was low. "Looks like it's going to be somewhere around five, six percent. I can't say the Jazz Fest is the cause of it, I think it's the day. Today is a beautiful day, people are just doing other things," Morrell said.

In Plaquemines Parish, registrar of voters Mary Buras says turnout was higher than she expected in the Belle Chasse area...but she says other areas of the parish saw very low turnout.

In Jefferson Parish, registrar of voters Dennis Dimarco says only 10 percent of voters turned out on the East Bank to cast a ballot, but the West Bank was double that amount. "West Bank voters seem much more motivated, much more willing to get out there," said DiMarco.

After all, the West Bank residents are largely the ones who've been paying the toll on the Crescent City Connection for the past 20 years. The tolls were supposed to be done away with at the end of last year, but in November, a measure to keep the tolls passed by just 36 votes. A group named "Stop the Tolls" filed a lawsuit challenging the election, claiming hundreds of registered voters were unfairly excluded from the vote. A judge in Baton Rouge agreed with them and nullified the November election. In March, the tolls stopped being collected.

West Bank resident Monique Bradley said, "I hope we get rid of the tolls for good. It's been so pleasant, I commute from the East everyday so hopefully this can be the end of it."

But plenty of people want the tolls to stay. Just after toll collections ceased, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said he was disappointed in the decision. "I really do fear and I hope my fears don't come to pass, that you're going to see a much less taken care of bridge than you have in the past," Landrieu said in March.

Ultimately, it was up to the voters to decide if they wanted to fund the bridge or force the state to come up with the money needed to up-keep the CCC.

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