NEW ORLEANS — Early voting begins Friday across Louisiana for the Dec. 5 election, which includes the runoff for Orleans Parish District Attorney, as well as several judicial runoffs and important tax issues across the metro New Orleans area.
Early voting begins Friday and continues through Saturday, Nov. 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, excluding Sunday, Nov. 22, Thursday, Nov. 26 and Friday, Nov. 27, due to the state observed holiday for Thanksgiving and Acadian Day.
Orleans Parish voters should note that the Smoothie King Center will not be used as an early voting location as it was for the Nov. 3 election to allow for social distancing.
Instead, the traditional early voting sites will be used: City Hall (Room #1W24), the Algiers Courthouse, 225 Morgan St., the Voting Machine Warehouse, 8870 Chef Menteur Hwy. and the Lake Vista Community Center, 6500 Spanish Fort Blvd.
Just as during the November election, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said that social distancing and sanitizing protocols will be followed during early voting.
Early voting shattered records for the Nov. 3 election, due to the presidential race and concerns by some voters about COVID-19. Turnout should be significantly lower for the runoff election, however.
In addition to the Orleans Parish District Attorney's race, which pits former judge Keva Landrum against City Councilman Jason Williams, there is also a runoff for District Attorney in Plaquemines Parish. Incumbent Charles Ballay faces challenger Leo Palazzo.
There are also several runoffs for judgeships in Orleans Parish, on the criminal, civil and juvenile court bench. Orleans Parish voters will also cast ballots in runoff elections for several school board seats.
Regionally, there is a race for a seat on the Public Service Commission, with incumbent Eric Skrmetta facing challenger Allen Borne Jr. The seat represents voters in parts of Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. Charles, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes.
New Orleans voters will see tax propositions on the ballot. Three separate propositions ask voters to replace several property taxes that will expire at the end of 2021. According to the Bureau of Governmental Research, the replacement taxes would take effect at the beginning of 2021 and run for 20 years. They would have the same combined rate as the existing taxes – 5.82 mills, however, the propositions would change the tax dedications.
Proposition 1 (infrastructure and maintenance) would replace a 1.77-mill tax for streets and traffic signals and a 0.56-mill tax for capital projects with a single 2.619-mill tax for streets, drainage, public facilities, vehicles and equipment.
Proposition 2 (libraries and early childhood education) would replace a 2.58-mill tax for libraries with a single 0.987-mill tax for libraries and early childhood education.
Proposition 3 (housing and economic development) would replace a single 0.91-mill tax for housing and economic development with two separate taxes – a 1.05-mill tax for housing and a 1.164-mill tax for economic development.
Voters statewide will also consider a constitutional amendment dealing with state higher education boards. It would allow for out of state residents to be appointed to up to two at-large positions on the boards that govern the state’s college and university systems: Louisiana Community and Technical College, Louisiana State University, Southern University and University of Louisiana.