Early voting begins for 5th District Louisiana Congressional race

Published 12:03am Friday, October 4, 2013


The Natchez Democrat

VIDALIA — Early voting for the Oct. 19 election to fill the empty 5th Congressional District seat will begin Saturday.

Also on the ballot is a 10-year, 13-mill tax renewal for the Concordia Parish School Board.

Early voting is from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday to Oct. 12, at the Concordia Parish Registrar of Voters’ Office in the parish courthouse. One does not need an excuse to vote early.

The office will not be open Sunday.

“When they come to vote early, people should bring their driver’s license or a state ID,” Registrar of Voters Golda Ensminger said.

“If they are going to need assistance with voting, they are going to have to bring something from the doctor or other documentation showing they need assistance in order to receive assistance in voting — anything from an ID that says handicapped or something from the Veterans’ or Health and Human Services Social Security Administration that says you are handicapped can be used.”

The parish-wide millage renewal on the ballot allows the CPSB to pay debt service for money the school district borrowed to upgrade science labs and libraries, and for two roofing projects, Business Manager Tom O’Neal said.

The millage was last renewed in 2004.

The debt the millage supports was originally $4 million, and is scheduled to be paid off in 2015.

The millage also supports payroll through supplements to employee checks, which the school district uses in lieu of giving pay raises.

“If it is not renewed, obviously there would be no employee supplements, and we would still be obligated to pay off that debt,” O’Neal said. “I would have to find that money somewhere else.”

The Congressional race will be to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Ruston, who resigned to take the job of Louisiana Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs in September. Alexander’s term will end Jan. 3, 2015.

Fourteen candidates have qualified for the race, including five Republicans:

-Clyde C. Holloway of Ruston

-Vance M. McAllister of Monroe

-“Jay” Morris of Monroe

-Neil Riser of Columbia

-Phillip “Blake” Weatherly of Calhoun

Four Democrats have qualified, including:

-Marcus Hunter of Monroe

-Robert Johnson of Marksville

-James “Jamie” Mayo of Monroe

-Weldon Russell of Amite

Five third party or independent candidates also qualified for the race:

-Eliot S. Barron (Green) of New Orleans

-“Tom” Gibbs (Other) of Fairbanks

-Henry Herford Jr. (Libertarian) of Delhi

-Peter Williams (Other) of Lettsworth

-S.B.A. Zaitoon (Libertarian) of Baton Rouge

The Fifth Congressional district covers Concordia, Catahoula, Tensas, Avoyelles, Caldwell, East Carroll, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Rapides, Richland, Washington, West Carroll, West Feliciana and Winn parishes, as well as parts of East Feliciana, St. Helena, St. Landry and Tangipahoa parishes.