OUACHITA PARISH, LA (09/25/19)– The Ouachita Registrar of Voters is preparing for early voting that starts this weekend. From new voting machines to an increase of registered voters in Ouachita Parish, this election season seems to be off to a good start.
“Your vote, your voice.” It’s that time of the year again where politicians are asking for citizens to support them at the polls. Ouachita Parish has a population of more than 154-thousand… But the number of registered voters is far less.
“We have almost 102,000 registered voters,” said Christa Medaries, Ouachita Parish Registrar Office.
In the 2015 election, only 31.9 percent of registered voters actually voted. Officials hope that percentage will increase since there are 400 more registered voters this year than in 2015.
“I think with the social media and everything, people are more aware of elections and are more interested in what is happening in the the elections,” said Medaries.
Some locals believe people don’t head to the polls because they don’t know how powerful their vote actually is.
“Oh this doesn’t mean anything, or I don’t have to vote or I don’t have to teach my children this is how voting help us,” said Lorenzo Lenoir, Ouachita Resident.
In addition to those reasons, voters have complained in the past that the machines are too difficult or hard to read. But new voting machines should make the process of casting your ballot smoother.
“I think they are a lot easier, bigger for people to see. The screen is laid out nicer, the print is bigger, much bigger font,” said Medaries.
Ouachita residents can vote on the 10 machines at the Registrar’s Office in Monroe or on the 4 machines at the West Ouachita senior center in West Monroe.
“We need to see their identification, a picture I.D. If they don’t have that they will sign an affidavit of identify to vote,” said Medaries.
Early voting begins this Saturday, September the 28th and will run through October 5th. The polls open at 8:30 in the morning and close at 6 p.m.
They won’t be open on Sunday.