“Strong is a mild adjective” to describe the interest in the parish for residents intent on voting in the Nov. 6 presidential election, according to Sandra Thomas, Registrar of Voters for Morehouse Parish.
“Strong is a mild adjective” to describe the interest in the parish for residents intent on voting in the Nov. 6 presidential election, according to Sandra Thomas, Registrar of Voters for Morehouse Parish. Interest began building prior to first live debate between President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney on Oct. 3 in Denver, Colo. The last day to register was Oct. 9 and the parish office projects the number of eligible voters will reach about 20,000. Employees at the office on Franklin Street off the Town Square embraced a wave of last-minute residents registering the last two days of the registration deadline. Thomas said she's never seen anything like it. “There was a lot (of feedback) from voters worried that their registration information was incomplete or inaccurate and might make them unable to vote,” Thomas said. In 2008, more Americans voted – 130 million of them – than in any other presidential election in modern U.S. history. During that early-voting registration window in Morehouse, about 3,000 residents registered – a number that doubled the prior presidential election's early-voting period. And out of all registered voters, 65.8 percent of them voted in the election that parred Obama vs. Sen. John McCain (R). Thomas predicts that the Nov. 6 voter turnout at the parish's 55 precincts could reach as high as 67 percent, a new record. Early voting runs Oct. 23 through Oct. 30 at the Registrar's office, with extended hours (8:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.) daily sans Sunday. Thomas encourages voters to take advantage of that period, which is not offered in all 50 states. Otherwise, voters should be prepared to wait in long lines on Nov. 6. “We're geared up for the election,” Thomas said. Voters must present a driver's license or other official personal identification at the voting booth. Other than voting for president, there are other choices on the ballot, including one for U.S Rep., that pits incumbent Rodney Alexander (R) against Ron Ceaser (no party) and Clay Steven Grant (Libertarian),, and a local option election proposal to restrict Morehouse Parish School board members to three consecutive four-year terms. There's also nine individual amendments to the Louisiana Constitution on the ballot. For parish residents there are also three different local ballots, depending on a voter's ward, including: • for District 12, there's a proposition for a 10-year, 5-mill property tax renewal to improve schools in that quadrant; • a 10-year, 1.29-mill property tax renewal for maintenance costs on the Bonne Idee Bayou is on the ballot for surrounding residents; • and a 10-year, 5-mills tax renewal for Oak Ridge residents that will fund the village's public works department.