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Back to the polls: Early voting starts in Louisiana’s runoff

November 23, 2018

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Thought elections were over this year? Not quite. Early voting opens Saturday in Louisiana’s December runoff, with a contested seat to be the state’s election chief at the top of the ballot.

Republican Kyle Ardoin and Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup are vying to be Louisiana secretary of state, after being the two largest vote-getters in the November primary.

The primary election, with congressional races and other issues up for consideration, drew large numbers of voters. But the Dec. 8 runoff — competing with the holidays for attention — is expected to see fewer people show up at the polls.

Beyond the statewide race, also on the ballot are runoffs for local elected seats across more than two-thirds of Louisiana’s 64 parishes, and several municipalities have proposition elections, such as taxes, up for consideration.

The weeklong early voting period runs through Dec. 1, except Sunday.

SECRETARY OF STATE

The only statewide race remaining to be settled is the special election to fill the remaining year of the term of former Secretary of State Tom Schedler, the Republican who resigned in May amid sexual harassment allegations.

The list of candidates competing for the job overseeing elections, state archives and business registrations has been whittled from nine in the primary to two in the runoff, Ardoin and Collins-Greenup.

Ardoin, Schedler’s chief aide from Baton Rouge, is working in the interim job until voters elect someone. Though he initially said he wouldn’t run, Ardoin signed up in the final minutes of the candidate qualifying period. He’s running as an incumbent, saying he wouldn’t need “on-the-job training” since he’s been working in the agency for nearly a decade.

Collins-Greenup, from the small East Feliciana Parish town of Clinton, reached the runoff in a surprise to her own party, which backed another candidate. She raised less than $3,000 for the primary race, giving her no money for advertising beyond a website and campaign push cards. Still, Collins-Greenup traveled the state attending candidate forums and events, seeking support at churches and among African-American voters who make up the base of Louisiana’s Democratic Party. She has a law degree and has worked as a notary, in real estate and in the ministry.

LOCAL RACES

Beyond the lone statewide race, the secretary of state’s office said voters in 47 parishes will see competitions for 133 local elected positions on their ballots, and possibly tax and other proposition elections.

Nine parishes have the secretary of state’s race and local proposition elections.

Voters in Beauregard, Cameron, Concordia, East Feliciana, Iberia, Red River, St. Charles and St. Helena parishes only have the runoff between Ardoin and Collins-Greenup to draw them to the polls.

WHERE TO VOTE

Early voting runs daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., except on Sunday, at parish registrar of voters’ offices and other locations. The secretary of state’s office has a complete list of early voting sites online or through its GeauxVote mobile app.

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Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at http://twitter.com/melindadeslatte

For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

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