Statewide voter turnout even lower than expected for Saturday’s election

(David McNew/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS — It’s almost hard to believe that voter turnout statewide was even lower than the dismal numbers that state officials predicted.

The Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office anticipated a 15 percent voter turnout statewide based on historical data and early voting statistics.

The fact that only 13.5 percent of voters did turn out in Louisiana “did not surprise us,” said Meg Casper, a spokeswoman for Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler’s office.

Asked what contributed to the low voter turnout, Schedler said, “Overall, the treasurer’s race did not garner a lot of attention from voters, coupled with general frustration with government from the national level maybe seeping down to local elections.

In Orleans Parish, voter turnout was 31.9 percent, much higher than the state turnout, but it still means that two out of three voters in Orleans Parish did not vote in the mayoral primary that sent Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell and former Judge Desiree Charbonnet into a runoff to be decided Nov. 18.

So, how do we improve the dismal voting numbers in Louisiana?

Schedler recommends reducing the number of elections in the state and appointing interim officials so elections can be pushed to dates with historically higher turnouts.