Louisiana’s Early Voting and Some Related Thoughts

Pelicans Injured & Killed by BP Oil

Pelicans Injured & Killed by BP Oil

The early voting in Illinois was marked by President Barack Obama voting yesterday. However, in Louisiana the early voting opens today and goes for a week and with next Tuesday taking the place of Sunday.  I have not yet decided if I will vote early or vote on the regular election day. In this election the biggest and most high profile race is for the United States Senate seat occupied by  Mary Landrieu. Senator Landrieu is running and is opposed by Congressman and physician Bill Cassidy.  Rob Maness is also running and in a first past the post state if he had an open primary as the general election he might split the Cassidy vote and elect Landrieu outright. But here there will be a run-off to achieve a majority and it is not likely to be for Maness. But we  may see Maness again in another race.  I will return to this race near the end of this post. Which party will control the Senate is likely to be a very important question for the future.

There are also all of the seats in the US House of Representatives and any number of local elections. To see more about all of this click here.  You will have to fill in Parish and precinct information to generate the ballot that pertains to you. I will not do justice to these races in this post.

This complicated place has many issues to address

This complicated place has many issues to address

Louisiana also has fourteen constitutional amendments on the ballot and I will fly through those here Below this paragraph. For some view of the text and such click here  for a good general article from a paper where I used to work but which requires log in to view. There are also articles the fact of so many amendmentand on the substance of some amendments from another paper where I used to work here, here and here. The mere text is also available on the sample ballots linked above.  My summary may be imperfect in many ways and each voter should read and research the ballots on their own.

Proposed Amendment 1 Medical Trust Fund & Provider base Rate

A Yes vote would use constitution to protect Medical  Assistance Trust Fund.

A No  vote would leave this in the field of ordinary law and budgets.

Proposed Amendment 2 Hospital Assessment, Trust Fund & Fee Formula

A Yes vote would fund and create a Hospital Stabilization Fund using fees and monies from hospitals and Medicaid.

A No  vote would leave the process to legislative  and other budgets as now.

Proposed Amendment 3 Sales of Property with Delinquent Taxes 

A Yes vote would empower local governments to use collection agencies and make it easier to sell property for back taxes.

A No  vote would keep citizen protections higher under the current system and leave a weakened local funding system.

Proposed Amendment 4 Fund Transfers for an Infrastructure Bank

A Yes vote would implies the legislature should create the bank described but it AUTHORIZES the treasury to invest in such a bank.

A No  vote would leave the State Treasurer probably unable to invest in such a bank even if it existed — it does not exist now.

Proposed Amendment 5 Elimination Mandatory Retirement Age of Judges

A Yes vote would allow judges to serve past 70 years old.

A No  vote would keep judges subject to retirement mandate at 70.

Proposed Amendment 6 Higher Millage Cap for Police & Fire Protection in Orleans Parish

A Yes vote would allow Orleans Parish to collect millage taxes at twice the rate allowed to other parishes.

A No  vote would leave Orleans Parish and City governments with the same tax collecting rate limits as all other parishes.

Proposed Amendment 7 Property Tax Exemption for Certain Disabled Veterans

A Yes vote would allow special homestead exemption for fully disabled veterans.

A No  vote would not create this special exemption.

Proposed Amendment 8 Artificial Reef Development Fund

A Yes vote would probably plan to use BP penalty money but mostly would authorize the protected reef fund so coastal protection funds in it are not subject to the normal budget.

A No  vote would not create a special protected fund. Any fund made by normal law would be subject to normal budget issues.

Country chapel of St. James after a massive flood destryed interior.

Country chapel of St. James after a massive flood destroyed interior.

Proposed Amendment 9 Tax Exemption Reporting for Permanently Disabled Residents

A Yes vote would exempt those permanently disabled and under 65 from having to certify tax exemptions each year.

A No  vote would leave these people the burden to certify their tax status yearly.

Proposed Amendment 10 Tax Sale of Blighted or Abandoned Property

A Yes vote would reduce the redemption period to the 18 months which Orleans Parish already has.

A No  vote would leave longer periods of time to redeem blights property that has been condemned.

Proposed Amendment 11 Increases the Number of State Departments from 20 to 21

A Yes vote would allow on more department so a Department of Elderly Affairs can be created.

A No  vote would not allow for more departments.

Proposed Amendment 12 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Membership

A Yes vote would increase allocated representation for North and North Central Louisiana.

A No  vote would  leave two kinds of commissioners: those from the coastal parishes and those from the rest of the State.

Proposed Amendment 13 Orleans Lower Ninth Ward Vacant Property

A Yes vote would allow nominal rate sales of  properties in the still devastated Ninth Ward to approved buyers.

A No  vote would leave the Ninth Ward in the same category as other areas.

Proposed Amendment 14 Tax Rebates, Incentives & Abatements

A Yes vote would place laws related to Tax Rebates, Incentives and Abatements in the same category as other fiscal laws and would allow them only to be considered in the fiscal session in odd numbered years only.

A No  vote would allow such laws to continue in general sessions in even years as well as in odd years.

money is always part of the law but fiscal policy is separate here and elsewhere from other laws

money is always part of the law but fiscal policy is separate here and elsewhere from other laws

 

I want to acknowledge the work of my Louisiana State Representative in reporting on these amendments to her constituents.  Unfortunately her reports are not linkable to this blog.

I think all these amendments scare off and discourage some voters. But I do not really object to having them on the ballot this time. That is not the point. But we must consider how to engage young voters as well as all else we must do. Attracting the right combination of voters in the right numbers is a very important part of the process. Yong people are on such constituency and you can read my recent exchange with Lord Roberts on this subject here.

I think we will earn a lot about the demographics and voter behavior in Louisiana from this election. I think Mary Landrieu is out of step with the State on Abortion, she is very linked to Obama’s policies. On the other hand sh is a devoted public servant and has good seniority, connections and experience. Cassidy is smart,  clear in his policy formulations f not always consistent and has few big blemishes. If there is a runoff then I think the whole country will get involved in the real vote determining which of these two will win. I think Mary Landrieu has a small chance to win out right in the primary with more than 50% of the vote. Cassidy does not have a chance to win that early. But if he is ahead of Landrieu in the primary he will be hard to beat. But Maness will take votes only from Cassidy. So Landrieu should go into the general election at an advantage.

I am voting for Charles Boustany for U.S. Representative. I think he has little opposition. Mike Harson and Kieth Stutes are running hard for District Attorney. We will see how that race plays out. Harson has the edge with Stutes still gaining in my view but not fast enough to beat the incumbent.

 

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