NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -When some hotly contested local races are paired with a nationally watched governor's race, it's a combination that seems to pull people to the polls.
According to numbers released from the secretary of state’s office, more than 14 thousand Jefferson parish residents voted early in 2014. This year, more than 23,000 people showed up early.
“An 88% increase from 4 years ago, I was truly amazed, but it was busy almost the whole day,” said Jefferson Parish registrar of voters, Dennis DiMarco.
DiMarco says these are the kinds of numbers they see during a presidential race. He says considering a number of highly watched local races for parish president, council seats, and the sheriff's race, it’s maybe an outcome they could have expected.
“If the campaign goes negative, people get discouraged and don’t vote, I find to a certain extent negativity brings out voters maybe not to vote for you but against your opponent,” said DiMarco.
“The spike in Jefferson parish is extraordinarily high and it’s so high that it can't really be explained by population growth, it can only be explained by a much higher percentage of people motivated to vote in this election,” said DiMarco.
Dillard university political analyst Dr. Robert Collins says overall parishes across the state are reflecting higher early voter turnout which could mean good news for one party, particularly in the governor's race.
“If I was the incumbent governor I would be encouraged by these numbers because high voter turnout tends to favor the democratic candidate,” said Collins.
It's something President Donald Trump will likely try to fight with his visit to Louisiana, encouraging his base to vote republican. But Collins says considering high early voter turnout numbers, the president may want to change his tune.
“Just in general what we know about best practice in political campaigns its best not to split your vote and if he stand up there and says don’t vote for democrats, vote for republicans it’s going to split the vote, so I don’t think it’s going to have the effect he desires, his supporters desire,” said Collins.
The registrar of voters for Orleans parish reported a successful early voter turnout with nearly 25,000 people. 2014 numbers were around 24,000.
High voter turnout generally indicates a busy day on election day.
Polls will be open Saturday from 7 a.m to 8 p.m.