Election

LIVINGSTON –Livingston Parish Registrar of Voters Jared Andrews expects a 25-30 percent turnout for a ballot that includes a list state and local elections, as well as a millage renewal and three constitutional amendment proposals.

The primary ballot includes renewal of the Livingston Parish School Board tax before voters, along with amendments and statewide votes for an interim treasurer and a District 2 member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

Meanwhile, voters in Denham Springs will also decide on who will fill a seat a council member vacated earlier this year.

The School Board proposition and the race for the Denham Springs City Council set will likely rank as the biggest draws on parish ballots, he said.

“They’ve done a really good job of advertising that, and you have a lot of contenders in that election,” Andrews said. “You’ll probably see a little higher turnout in the Denham Springs municipal race, but obviously nothing like a Presidential race or anything like that.”

Distractions from the LSU-Auburn game – set for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff Saturday at Tiger Stadium – could put a kink in the turnout, Andrews said.

“I don’t know if that will be a measurable effect or not, although I would be interested to see to see who chooses to go to the football game or who chooses to early vote because of the game,” he said. “I still think for this type of election we will have a decent turnout, with the School Board and City Council election.”

“Plus, a statewide race often brings a slightly better turnout. We shall see,” Andrews said.

A total of 1,307 voters showed up for early voting over a seven-day period, Livingston Parish Registrar of Voters Jared Andrews said. His office also received approximately 500 mail-in ballots.

Early voting was busier than expected, he said. Approximately 180 voters a day, on average, showed up to practice their civic duty.

A run-off election, if necessary, will be held Nov. 18.

Here’s a list of the items on the ballot Oct. 14:

MILLAGE – Renewal of the 7.18-mill property tax will continue covering salaries of central staff, support staff added to all schools, instructional materials, cleaning supplies and classroom equipment and furniture, according to Livingston Parish School Board Superintendent Rick Wentzel.

The millage is not a new tax, as Wentzel has emphasized during his visits to governmental and civic groups to promote the renewal.

The millage has been on the books since 1979.

CITY COUNCIL -- Amber Dugas, Scott Kimble, Brian Ross, Ray Riley, Laura Schmitt Smith and Keith Stark will vie for the Denham Springs City Council seat Chris Davis vacated in February when he relocated to Mississippi for job reasons.

Riley is the lone Democrat. The remainder of the candidates are Republicans.

STATE TREASURER – The victor will fill the unexpired term of state Treasurer John N. Kennedy, who left office at the end of 2016 after he was elected Senator. 

The crowded race includes Sen. Neil Riser of Columbia, former Commissioner of Administration Angele Davis of Baton Rouge, and former state Rep. John Schroder of Mandeville. New Orleans attorney Derrick Edwards of Harvey was the lone Democrat to qualify, while Joseph D. Little of Ponchatoula entered the race as a Libertarian candidate.

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION -- Three Republicans are vying for the District 2 seat on the Public Service Commission – interim board member Damon Baldone and former state Rep. Lenar Whitney, both of Houma, and Baton Rouge surgeon Dr. Craig Greene, son of former state Sen. Dr. Tom Greene.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS – Voters will decide on three constitutional amendments:

The first amendment on the ballot would establish a property tax exemption for construction work in progress.

The second amendment would give surviving spouses of volunteer firefighters, emergency medical responders, technicians and paramedics who died while on duty a full property tax exemption on their home.

Amendment 3 would all for creation of a “Construction Subfund” within the state’s Transportation Trust Fund to contain any new fuel tax revenue, which could not be used for state employee benefits or wages.

UNOPPOSED -- Three officeholders who went unopposed during the July qualifying period will not be on the Oct. 14 ballot.

Joe Shumate, a Republican, will serve the remainder of the term Jerry Denton vacated when he took office as City Court Judge earlier this year. Denton took office as marshal in January 2014.

Independent candidate Bo Graham, an interim member of the Livingston Parish School Board, qualified to fill the remainder of the term for Jimmy Watson, who stepped down when he took office as Walker mayor.

Democratic candidate Kathleen Abels, whose resume includes four-year terms as Killian alderman and mayor, will finish out the term as District 10 constable. 

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