GOP, Democrats focus on Election Day ground game on election eve

GOP, Democrats focus on Election Day ground game on election eve

Voting machines were already at polling locations in many parishes, including Orleans, by Monday morning.

In New Orleans, Clerk of Criminal Court Arthur Morrell said he is expecting an Election Day voter turnout of 45 percent, given the enthusiastic early voting in Orleans Parish.

"There's a lot of excitement. A lot of money has been spent on campaigning, commercials and it's making people quite aware," said Morrell.

He said over 700 voting machines have been rolled out across the parish, which now has 366 precincts.

In Jefferson Parish, Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer said more than 900 voting machines were deployed to polling places, with some locations receiving more than one machine.

"Three to four depending on the size of the precinct. This will be a heavy turnout election probably 50 percent turnout, which is heavy," said Gegenheimer.

He said he has brought on 50 additional staffers for the mid-term election that has generated national interest.

"We're ready, I don't think you'll see any problems in Jefferson," stated Gegenheimer.

With control of the U.S. Senate at stake in this election, Louisiana's senatorial race is considered one that may decide the power struggle on Capitol Hill. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landireu is in a difficult race as she tries to fend off strong challenges from Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy and Tea Party-backed Republican Rob Maness.

"We have people that are going to get out the vote like never before that have won statewide," said Roger Villere, Chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party.

He said their ground game is well-polished for Election Day.

"We're going to be phone-banking, we're going to be walking door-to-door," said Villere.

The Louisiana Democratic Party did not provide an interview with any party leaders, but an attorney for Landrieu's campaign did comment.

"The party has a number of people, they are activated around the state, phone banks, individual people going door-to-door, of course email and texting," said Landrieu Campaign Attorney Scott Bickford.

In a state that has become increasing "red" Landrieu is the sole democrat holding a statewide office, and her camp knows what it is up against in terms of turnout out a large number of supporters for a mid-term election.

"This, because it's not a major presidential election, there's a not a governor's candidate on the ballot," continued Bickford.

And both parties are ready to respond quickly to Election Day complaints.

"We have staged poll watchers across the state to look for particular problems at individual polls," said Bickford.

"We have a group of attorneys who are working with us, have volunteered to help us out with any kind of voting irregularities," stated Villere.

And the U.S. Justice Department will also keep an eye on the process. U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite said Assistant U.S. Attorney Irene Gonzalez has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer for the Eastern District of Louisiana. She will oversee the handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses.

"Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted without it being stolen because of fraud. The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process," Polite said in a written statement.

"We're not going to turn anyone away, we'll let them vote one way or the other," said Morrell.

But voters are asked to bring a government-issued picture ID and familiarize themselves with the ballot before entering the voting booth.

"Be prepared, have your ballots with you, because you've got three minutes in the booth," said Gegenheimer.

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