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Gubernatorial race: please get out, vote

By John Lawson, managing editor
On November 1, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (October 31, 2019) – Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards will face against Republican businessman Eddie Rispone in the gubernatorial runoff statewide Nov. 16, and it’s especially important for us to get out the vote.

Edwards received the most votes, a plurality, in the Oct. 12 primary, but did not reach the 50 percent mark needed to win. He secured 626,000 votes, 46.6 percent, while Rispone secured 368,318, or 27.4 percent. Republican Rep. Ralph Abraham trailed in third place with 317,115, or 23.6 percent of the vote.

Both Rispone and Abraham were endorsed by President Donald Trump during a rally held the day before the primary election in Lake Charles the day before the primary election; he did not favor one Republican candidate over the other, but his appearance has been credited with bolstering the number of rural voters who came out.

Some 2.9 million Louisiana residents are registered voters, and 1.3 million showed up to the polls for the primary election, less than half of those registered.

The Advocate reported the first poll for the runoff election by We Ask America showed both candidates at 47 percent of the vote, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.99 percent.  That shows just how close this race will be.

The poll showed 52 percent of those surveyed believe Edwards deserves reelection, but those feelings are not “translating completely to the ballot.” The survey results in hindsight show that not every person who is fond of Edwards believe he deserves a second term.

Many others outside of this survey either are on the fence about who they should cast their vote or who will not cast their vote at all. The results of the first survey going into the runoffs supports the idea that every single vote counts, especially when it comes to the African American demographic, millennials and members of Generation z.

According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning, or CIRCLE, in the 2016 presidential election, African Americans made up for 15 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 in the 2016 presidential election compared with 11 percent of black voters 30 years of age or older from the same election. This in an indication that the younger generation of black voters are making their voices heard where it matters.

But the work did not stop in 2016. Experts have been discussing the increase of voter turnout among millennials, but overall, we tend to only vote in national elections. The governor’s race is just as important as the presidential race, if not more, since it is based on the popular vote rather than a final decision through the electoral college as with the presidential election.

Perhaps some of us in college don’t recall the economic turmoil the last Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, wreaked during his eight years in office. Education was cut, mental health assistance was cut, and we could go on and on. Edwards has turned the huge deficit Louisiana had into a surplus, yet Rispone, who hasn’t faced Edwards in a debate since the runoff, can only mimic Trump by saying “Make Louisiana great again.” We know what that dog whistle means.

Please show up to the polls on Nov. 16 just as we would if it were the presidential election. Local and state elections have a bigger impact on us individually, and the runoff election is critical.

Early voting will run Saturday, Nov. 2, through Saturday, Nov. 9 (except Sunday, Nov. 3) from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail is Nov. 12 by 4:30 p.m., and the deadline for the registrar of voters to receive a voted mail ballot is Nov. 15 by 4:30 p.m. Polls for election day Nov. 16 will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Please do your part, and encourage others to do theirs.



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