Friday open to early voting for Louisiana’s Nov. 18 election
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Early voting opens Friday for Louisiana’s Nov. 18 election, with the special runoff to fill the state treasurer’s job the only contest facing many voters.
Twenty-four of Louisiana’s 64 parishes only have the treasurer’s race on the ballot, according to Secretary of State Tom Schedler’s office. Thirty-two parishes also have local propositions, while only eight parishes have local candidate competitions.
The early voting schedule shifted slightly because of the Veteran’s Day holiday on Nov. 10.
Voters can cast ballots from Friday through Nov. 11, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, except on Sunday and Veteran’s Day. Early voting is held at local parish registrar of voters’ offices and other designated locations. Schedler’s office has a complete list of early voting sites online or through its GeauxVote mobile app.
The treasurer’s runoff features the top two vote-getters from the October primary: Democrat Derrick Edwards, a New Orleans area lawyer with an accounting degree who’s never held elected office, and Republican John Schroder, an ex-state lawmaker, former law enforcement official and businessman from Covington.
Though Edwards led in the primary, Schroder is considered the front-runner in the competition after Republicans in the six-candidate primary split 67 percent of the primary vote. Schroder has far exceeded Edwards in fundraising and money spent on ads.
The GOP contender has talked of the need to curb state spending, describing state officials as wasteful with taxpayer dollars. Republican supporters have said he’ll be a vocal opponent to the policies of Louisiana’s Democratic governor — though the treasurer has no control over the way dollars are spent in the state.
“We need someone that we can trust to oversee taxpayer money and shout from the rooftops when it’s being doled out in an irresponsible manner,” Republican Party of Louisiana Chairman Roger Villere said in a statement. “John Schroder is the fiscal watchdog that we need.”
Edwards describes himself as more qualified to hold the treasurer’s job and says he doesn’t have a political agenda. He and his supporters said Schroder is spreading false information by suggesting the treasurer could somehow work to cut government spending levels.
“Either he is intentionally trying to mislead the people of this great state or he has no idea what the state treasurer job does,” Edwards told Democrats at last weekend’s meeting where the party’s leaders endorsed him.
The treasurer serves as Louisiana’s chief money manager and investment officer. The special election will fill the remaining two years of the current term after Republican John Kennedy was elected to the U.S. Senate.
The most high-profile local competition is the New Orleans mayor’s race, which will be historic for installing the city’s first woman as mayor. Both candidates are Democrats: City Council member Latoya Cantrell and former municipal court Judge Desiree Charbonnet. Democratic incumbent Mitch Landrieu is term-limited.
Schedler anticipates statewide turnout for the election to be “extremely low.” The primary drew a dismal 13.5 percent participation from voters, the lowest turnout for a statewide election in at least 35 years.
Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at http://twitter.com/melindadeslatte