Tuesday, April 11, 2006


N.O. election off to a slow start

Advocate staff writer

Voting began Monday for the next mayor of New Orleans with long lines in the Big Easy, but few showed up at 13 early voting sites spread out across the state, including three in East Baton Rouge Parish.

East Baton Rouge Parish’s main registrar of voters office and two satellite offices counted 262 votes by close of business Monday, the second-busiest parish.

Orleans Parish, as expected, had the most activity with about 1,000 early voters, about 60 percent of the more than 1,650 early votes cast across the state Monday, according to an estimate by the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office.

Civil-rights organizations such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now are chartering buses this week to try to give these mostly black, displaced voters a chance to vote.

On Monday, buses brought in hundreds of displaced voters living in other states to New Orleans, Lake Charles and Shreveport. Caddo Parish Registrar Ernie Roberson said, however, that Shreveport’s only bus, which arrived from Dallas, had only nine voters onboard. No buses came to Baton Rouge.

In Lake Charles, buses brought in almost every one of the 113 early voters who showed up Monday. Several of them said they did not expect to return to New Orleans before the end of the year, but made the long trip because the election will determine much of the city’s future.

Vernon Severin said he and his wife, Gloria, had no strong favorites, but voted anyways. Friends of theirs are likewise conflicted and some aren’t voting at all, he said.

“They (all of the candidates) are disgusting,” he said. “There’s nothing being done, from the mayor, to the governor, all the way up to the president.”

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