On election eve, pundits say mayoral candidates must focus on turnout

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Fewer than 24 hours before election day, there was a lot of activity at a huge warehouse in New Orleans East.

On Friday huge trucks were in and out of the parking picking up sealed voting machines. Orleans Parish Clerk of Criminal Court Arthur Morrell oversees the elections process for voting in the city.

"We don't want any place not to have a machine working," Morrell said.

Voters will decide whether Latoya Cantrell or Desiree Charbonnet will be sworn in next year as the city's first female mayor.

Morrell said early voting increased over the Oct. 14 primary, which put Cantrell and Charbonnet in Saturday's runoff.

"That's up about a thousand, so the early voting for the general is higher than it was for the primary," Morrell said.

"The final 24 hours is about GOTV, get out the vote. These candidates have to get their supporters to the polls. Gone are the times where they could have a compelling message to win someone over," said Mike Sherman, FOX 8's political analyst.

Sherman is not optimistic about the notion of a robust elect day turnout.

"We're not seeing anything drastically different from the primary election a month ago, so this is a modest level of interest, gone are the days of over a hundred thousand voters in New Orleans, even with history in the making we're not seeing anything significantly different than we saw last month," Sherman stated.

As Cantrell and Charbonnet fight for the top job at city hall they have taken part in numerous of debates and have been visible along the campaign trail, but they are not taking any chances. Both have been using a lot of social media.

"My life experiences have shaped me to care about all people whether they have resources or they don't, whether they've been incarcerated, or not," Cantrell says in a video on her campaign Facebook page.

"We all want the same things for our families, job opportunities for ourselves and our children, housing we can afford and freedom from the crime that plagues us all. I'm Desiree Charbonnet join me in working for a safer and better city for all of us," says a Charbonnet ad on her campaign Facebook page.

"By Sunday people's email accounts, social media, and cellphones will get a little bit of relief.  The campaigns are now taking advantage of low cost ways to directly reach voters through their individual accounts," said Sherman.

"This has been a really publicized election and it's a historical event, so we expect a lot of people voting," Morrell said.

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