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Early voting records smashed

Voters cast their ballots early at the Yenni Building in Jefferson Parish. (FOX 8 Photo) Voters cast their ballots early at the Yenni Building in Jefferson Parish. (FOX 8 Photo)
HARAHAN, LA (WVUE) -

Early voting ends Tuesday in Louisiana, but already more people have voted in the state than the entire early voting session during the 2012 presidential election.

In Jefferson Parish at the Yenni Building, voters can expect to wait in a holding pattern with dozens of other registered voters, before getting a chance to line up for a voting machine.

Some voters said they waited more than an hour to cast their vote, but despite the inconvenience, more people are choosing to cast their ballot before Election Day than ever.

“We're seeing increases daily of 55-60 percent over four years ago, which was a major election. I am amazed at the people turning out, people waiting an hour, some waiting longer, but most people, 99-percent of them, say it's worth it,” Jefferson Parish Registrar of Voters Dennis DiMarco said.

Through Saturday, Jefferson Parish already eclipsed 2012’s mark, which follows a statewide trend.

“We’ve had some 366,000 voters [through Saturday] that have participated in early voting and to give you a benchmark, in all of 2012, which was a record-setting year in itself over '08, we were at 352,000,” Secretary of State Tom Schedler said.

That’s all before counting Monday’s numbers and the expected surge before early voting ends on Tuesday.

For some voters, that’s because they’ve already made their decision.

“I think most people are on one extreme of the spectrum on this election, I'm definitely one. So I don't think within even the next few weeks my mind would change,” early voter Shannon Livaudais said.

FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman agrees, the people making their choices now likely can’t be swayed to the other side of the ticket.

“Early voters tend to be chronic and super chronic voters, they're just taking advantage of a more convenient way to do it. Those undecideds, those independents that haven't made a choice, the research tells us they're waiting for Election Day,” Sherman said.

With records already breaking, though, it’s clear some voters and even voting officials, just want to get their pick in now in hopes of escaping what could be an even longer wait at the polls on Election Day.

“I wanted to make sure that my vote was there and everything was fine. I just didn't want to wait the line,” Patricia Bell, who was voting early, said. “I think it'll be so much more intense on the 8th.”

“I think people hearing about these big lines, they assume Election Day will be as big, if not bigger. I personally have voted every election at the polls, this election I'm voting early because I don't want to stand in line,” DiMarco said.

Early voting ends at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, election officials said anyone in line before the cutoff time will be allowed to vote early.

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