Huge crowds for final day of early voting; election officials ready for Nov. 8

Huge crowds for final day of early voting; election officials ready for Nov. 8

(WVUE) - The final day of early voting in Louisiana attracted long lines as people flocked to voting sites in advance of the deadline.

At the sprawling New Orleans City Hall, lines stretched nearly from one end of the building to the next at times. This as area elections officials said they are fully prepared for Election Day next Tuesday to protect against voter fraud and other problems.

"This has really been unbelievable, our numbers at all four sites have doubled," said New Orleans Registrar Sandra Wilson.

Miles away in Jefferson Parish, there was more evidence of enthusiastic early voting across Louisiana.

"Our problem these last few days is just the volume of people," said Jefferson Parish Registrar Dennis DiMarco.

The Louisiana Secretary of State's Office, which oversees all elections, said Tuesday that 10,000 voting machines will be positioned around the state and local elections officials said they are fully prepared on their end.

"We are ready, we have no, no reservations at all about how we will do, we'll do very well," said Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer.

"We are going to have a full cadre of commissioners, we have completed all our classes, we don't anticipate any problems," said New Orleans Clerk of Court Arthur Morrell.

Still, the presidential election comes amid heightened concerns by the federal government of cyber-attacks, and some people have expressed concerns about possible voter fraud, including GOP Presidential Candidate Donald Trump.

But state and local election officials downplay such concerns saying there is no evidence to substantiate such concerns.

"I think those are ill-founded and they grow more out of hysteria than anything else, there's no empirical evidence or any kind of factual basis by which one could conclude that there would be election fraud or cyber risks at least in LA," said Gegenheimer.

And in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish more voters chose to cast early ballots compared to the presidential contest of four years ago.

"The total number of in person, early voting for the 2012 was a little over 26,000 and we're over 40,000," said Registrar Wilson of New Orleans.

"We anticipate between our three offices we're going to vote almost, probably over 30,000 people in a 7-day period," said DiMarco.

In Jefferson, that number would exceed the 2012 tally by 10,000.

And statewide, early voting totals through October 21 shows 437, 539 people cast ballots with democrats outpacing republicans.

The SOS data shows 194, 980 democrats had voted early compared to 171,444 republicans.  Voters in the other category numbered 71,115.
"It's unbelievable," said Wilson.

Gegenheimer urges voters to familiarize themselves with the constitutional amendments and other propositions before heading to polling places Tuesday. Also voters should arrive with a driver's license or other state issued I.D.

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