Just over 37,000 Louisianans went to the polls Oct. 10, the first day of early voting in this fall's election. That's 1,000 fewer votes than were cast the first day of early voting during the 2014 U.S. Senate race. It also may be a sign that voters are less engaged in this election than they were when Bill Cassidy, then a congressman, dethroned longtime U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Despite the intense coverage this election has received — and the barrage of television ads — the Louisiana electorate has seemed detached, if not apathetic. Polls reflect this lack of interest. A July and early August survey of voters conducted by Louisiana State University's Public Policy Research Lab found that only 29 percent of voters were paying attention to the governor's race — the same percentage that had been paying attention in March. Last month, a Clarus Research Group poll conducted for WWL-TV and The New Orleans Advocate found "[W]hile nearly 90 percent of voters know enough" about Sen. David Vitter to form an opinion of him (either positive or negative), more than 50 percent of voters knew too little to form an opinion about Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne or state Rep. John Bel Edwards. That survey was done less than a month before early voting began.
Early voting is now over. Election Day is this Saturday, Oct. 24. It's time for voters to get educated — even if they can't get excited — and engage, because this is one of the most consequential elections in a long time.