Turnout was about 67 percent

Published 8:35 am Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Scattered rain showers didn’t seem to put a dent in voter turnout on Tuesday as residents across the parish showed up to cast ballots on Election Day.

Voters were electing the president, a U.S. Senator and for a half dozen constitutional amendments in addition to local offices and, in the case of Bogalusa, tax issues.

Voting registrar Randy Strickland spent Tuesday collecting mail-in ballots and he said those, in addition to the early voting numbers, showed an increase in turnout from prior years.

“Yes, for mail ballots we’ve got some increase,” he said at noon. He added the parish had about a 30 percent increase for early voting numbers.

According to unofficial figures, about 66.5 percent of eligible voters in Washington Parish went to the polls this year.

Johnny Crain, the parish clerk of court, spent the day travelling to various precincts within the parish.

“Everything looks good,” he said midday. “We’re getting a high turnout of people all over the parish, especially in the country. There’s lines at pretty much every precinct I went to.”

Crain said there were a couple of brief power outages early in the day in Stateline and Plainview polling stations, but those outages did not affect the voting machines. Crain praised the Washington Parish St. Tammany Electric Cooperative for restoring power.

“Within 30 minutes they had the power on there and our machines have batteries so it didn’t affect the voting, only the lightning,” he said.

Crain said turnout in Bogalusa was slower than expected Tuesday morning, but he blamed that on the weather.

At St. Paul AME Church annex, a precinct one polling place, Bettye Granger, a poll worker for 30 years, said the number of voters had not really exceeded past years.

“It’s basically about the same,” she said, Tuesday morning. “Since they said it was such a large turnout of absentees, I think that has had something to do with us having a break. But it’s been steady.”

Crain said he figured the numbers in Bogalusa would pick up as the day continued and the rain diminished.

“The way things are looking, everything is picking up,” he said.

Some parish results in key national, local and state races included:

• President — Republican Donald Trump, 12,552 votes (67%) over Democrat Hillary Clinton, 5,690 votes (31%)

• U.S. Senator — Republican John N. Kennedy, 6,939 votes (39%); Democrat Foster Campbell, 2,291 votes (13%); Democrat Caroline Fayard, 1,682 votes (12%).

• U.S. Representative — Republican Ralph Abraham, 9,321 votes (68%) over Republican Billy Burkette, 4,418 votes (32%).

• Constitutional Amendments (CA) — CA1, Yes, 69%; CA2, No, 62%; CA3, No, 57%; CA4, Yes, 70%; CA5, No, 52%; CA6, No, 61%.

Among statewide races at presstime, Boustany and Campbell were each at 16% in the battle to qualify for a U.S. Senate runoff against top-vote getter John N. Kennedy (26% statewide).

Abraham easily won re-election with 81 percent of the vote in the 5th Congressional District, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

With 86 percent of precincts reporting, the leader among constitutional amendments was as follows: CA1, Yes, 72%; CA2, No, 57%; CA3, No, 57%; CA4, Yes, 72%; CA5, Yes, 53%; CA6, No, 59%.

Finally, Trump was projected to win the state of Louisiana, leading Clinton by 62 percent to 35 percent, with 86 percent of precincts reporting.