Louisiana voters are coming out in unprecedented numbers to cast early ballots for the general election, shattering all previous records as the early voting period ends today.
Nearly 200,000 people and counting had voted by Monday, according to the Secretary of State's office, which handles elections. By comparison, 128,000 people early voted in the 2004 presidential race, and just fewer than 141,000 showed up in advance of last year's statewide contests, which included the governor's race.
Secretary of State Jay Dardenne said lines in the last week likely foreshadow a strong turnout on Election Day, perhaps as much as 70 percent of the 2.9 million people registered. Voters should likely be prepared for waits unlike what they're used to at their polling places.
Besides the presidential contest, at the top of the ticket in Louisiana is a closely watched U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu and Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy. Also, the state has several contested congressional races, including the Democratic primary run-off involving indicted U.S. Rep. William Jefferson in New Orleans.