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|Early voting brisk|
More than 1,600 Ouachita Parish voters cast ballots for the Nov. 4 general election during the first couple of days of early voting.
West Monroe resident James Clark was one of them. Clark will be out of pocket election day, Tuesday, Nov. 4, when voters will choose a new president, a U.S. senator in Louisiana and decide the fate of a host of tax initiatives in Monroe as well as seven constitutional amendments.
"Deer season opens the Saturday before the election and I won't be available to come vote during the normal times," said Clark, who cast his ballot late Wednesday. "So I had to come vote now."
According to personnel at the registrar's office, 1,668 early votes had been cast as of 3 p.m. Wednesday.
That figure would indicate a high voter turnout on election day. Also, if early voting trends continue at the same pace until early voting ends Tuesday, Oct. 28, some 10 percent of registered voters in Ouachita Parish will have already voted.
Ouachita Registrar of Voters Christa Medaries was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Recently, Medaries said she expected more people to vote early this year than ever before. She believes the higher voter turnout would be driven by interest in the presidential contest between Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama.
"For the first time, you have a black man running for president as the Democratic nominee," Medaries said last week, prior to early voting. "You also had a woman who was running for the Democratic nomination. And now, there's a woman on the Republican side for vice president."
"There's a lot of interest in that," she said. "A lot of people just want to vote this time."
Voters wishing to cast early ballots can do so at the Ouachita Parish Registrar's office. It is located in the old state office building on St. John in Monroe.
Early voting is open from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. each day until Tuesday. No early voting will be held Sunday.
Also, voters will be allowed to cast early ballots at a satellite polling station at Chennault Aviation and Military Museum beginning Friday.
That early polling station will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.