By Juanice Gray
Natchitoches Parish had an abysmal 11.1 to 13.3 percent turnout at Saturday’s election, depending on the area. The parish numbers did, however, reflect the statewide turnout of an average 13.5 percent.
There will be a runoff in the State Treasurer’s race between Derrick Edwards (Dem) with 31 percent of the vote and John Schroder (Rep) with 24 percent, narrowly edging out Angele Davis (Rep) who came in third with 22 percent. All three State Constitutional Amendments passed. The most talked about race is the narrow margin of defeat for the School Dist. 9 proposal by only eight votes. Early voting was neck and neck with 357 votes in favor and 350 against, which would set the tone for election day ballots. A total 1,006 voters said no to the proposition while 998 said yes, resulting in the narrow defeat.
While the vote was also fairly close in the Fire Dist. 1 7.02 mills vote, 124 votes equaled 57 percent of the vote for the win. Forty-three percent, or 95 people, voted against the millage. Natchitoches Parish voters disagreed with the state in the Treasurer race. Edwards carried the parish while Davis came in second with 24 percent and Schroder a close third with 23 percent. Registrar of Voters Debbie Waskom said early voting totals, while low at only 707, the parish still did better than some areas of New Orleans. “Some locations in New Orleans had 100 voter days and we had more here on certain days,” she said. Statewide, over 74,000 early ballots were tallied.
Natchitoches Parish had more than several other similarly populated or surrounding parishes. There were more early votes in Natchitoches Parish than Acadia, Lincoln, Morehouse, Plaquemine, Red River, Sabine or West Baton Rouge to name a few. Clerk of Court David Stamey and his deputy clerks, along with members of the Election Board, broke the seals on the voting machines Tuesday to verify totals.
“We open every machine at the warehouse and check the totals,” Stamey said. He explained the numbers on the machines were verified and written down the Thursday prior to the election. On Tuesday, those numbers were compared with the total number of votes cast on each machine. “Everything must match,” he said. “Our members, which include myself, Louie Bernard, Debbie Waskom, Paul Fleming and Jared Dunahoe, and my staff check every single machine and every number.” The election results were verified as of 8:30 a.m. Wednesday as correct. “Early voting ballots are checked by the Registrar of Voters,” Stamey said. The runoff election for State Treasurer will be Saturday, Nov. 18.