Officials say prior excited talk yielded little change in voter turnout..
Each election season the Terrebonne Parish Registrar of Voters sees an influx of sign-ups, but even after the polarization witnessed across the country last presidential election, officials in charge of voter registration do not expect much variation in turn out.
“After the primary we worked so hard for early voting, we had so many [people] through here, we thought our percentage of people in Terrebonne who showed up to vote would have been record breaking,” said Rhonda Rogers, Registrar. “When I saw it I was just heartbroken.”
“Not everybody that is registered intends to vote,” said Rogers.
She emphasized that signing up to vote meant little if the voter didn’t follow through and cast their ballot. 2016 did show a slight increase over the 2012 voter turn out in Terrebonne Parish of 2.12%, showing that their hard work did make some difference (66.42%-68.54%).
According to Rogers, registration increases each presidential election but diminishes during the time period between them, “Every presidential election we peak out, but those 4 years between now and then we’re going to decline.”
More voters could intend to take part this year than in the 2016 election. Voter registration statistics show an increase of 1,083 registered voters compared to the 2016 presidential election: Jan 17th 2016 had 62,398 as opposed to 63,481 as of Jan 12, 2020.
These numbers can be misleading though, said Devonna Simmons, Chief Deputy Registrar of Voters. This is because it doesn’t take into account the number of registered voters removed from the system.
Voters can be removed for reasons ranging from death to discrepancies in their information. 2020 will not have an accurate number until the end of the year, but 2012 saw 4,016; and 2016 saw 3,923 cancellations.
Rogers stressed the importance of registering soon, as the deadlines are approaching.
“People aren’t interested in an election until it is about to happen,” said Rogers. “…And these deadlines will determine if you vote in it.”
On April 4th, Louisiana voters will cast their ballots on their respective party’s nominees. Voters may only influence the party he or she is registered with, a restriction Rogers said voters aren’t always aware of.
While the April deadline may seem far away, the deadline for registration is March 3rd for physical registration and March 14th for online (www.geauxvote.com