For a mid-term election, early voting turnout in Jefferson County is up from the last mid-terms in 2010.
According to the Jefferson County District Clerk’s Office, there were 34,103 votes cast in person during the early voting period from Oct. 20 to Oct. 31. In 2010, there were 34,583 votes cast in person. While the in-person votes were higher in 2010, it’s the mail-in votes that have made the 2014 totals higher.
This year, the county received 3,759 mail ballots. Four years ago, the number was less than one-third of that, with 1,025 mailed-in ballots.
The 2010 grand total came to 35,608 votes cast in early voting, whereas this year the grand total came to 37,862.
Theresa Goodness, chief deputy county clerk, said the increase in mailed ballots is probably because of legislation that allows for absentee voters to register for every election during the year instead of each election individually. That means those voting by mail automatically will get a ballot for every election.
“This is the first time the annual option has been available,” Goodness said. “I think that’s having an impact.”
She said that things have gone smoothly during early voting.
The controversial voter ID law that went into effect this year hasn’t been much of a problem, Goodness said.
“We have had a few people that didn’t have a photo ID, but they are allowed to cast a provisional vote. Then they have six days following the election to come in with a photo ID, and if they do then their vote is counted,” she said.
Last week, some local media reported that there had been problems with the ES&S Ivotronics voting machines, with some voters claiming that if they voted a straight-party ticket, the machine was switching their vote to the other party.
Goodness said that while there were some calibration issues with a few machines, no voters left a polling location without placing their vote for the candidate of their choice.
“It’s built into the electronic system that you have to review your ballot before you can even hit the ‘Vote’ button,” she said. “And if the voter didn’t think their vote was correct, the poll workers were there to assist them and make sure their vote was properly submitted.”
County Clerk Carolyn Guidry said last week that there were issues at the polls at the Nederland Recreational Center, the John Paul Davis Community Center, Rogers Park, the Theodore Johns Library and the Port Arthur Library.
The Rogers Park location in west Beaumont was the busiest of the early voting places, with more than 8,700 votes cast there.