BAYHAM: Don’t Punt On Voting On Saturday, Louisiana!

Yes, there’s a very important election on Saturday. And yes, you need to be voting in it.

And so does your family.

And your Facebook friends.

And your real friends too.

Many people aren’t aware that there’s a very important state office on the ballot.

Secretary of State isn’t a high profile job.  And it’s very difficult to raise money to campaign for it as office primarily handles the mundane tasks of managing business filings and elections.

And it’s good that the office seems mundane.  Because the alternative to mundane is the very exciting shenanigans that have played out in Florida’s post-election political drama.

Again.

In the same county that made people question our faith in American democracy in ways that Russian social media trolls could not on their best day.

Louisiana has a well-deserved reputation for election hijinks and our politicians once took great pride in their ability to manufacture results that drastically differed from how the electorate actually voted.

But those days largely died with disco, even if the image remains as the antics and reputations of folks like Huey Long and Earl Long far outlive them.

But the reality of today is better, with almost all irregularities due to isolated local tomfoolery and not systematic problems.

Acting-Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has on the job experience running the department from his time serving as the first assistant and then later assuming the office after the resignation of Tom Schedler.

Ardoin knows the office and his reelection would continue the seamless transition without disruption going into the important state office election cycle where governor, the entire legislature, and all parish governments and sheriffs are on the ballot.

A change in administrations at this juncture with the state elections less than a year away would be needlessly risky.

The last part cannot be emphasized enough.

After a testy primary, all of Ardoin’s fellow Republican candidates have endorsed his election.

But it’s going to take more than the support of several Republican politicians for Ardoin to win; it’s going to take hundreds of thousands of Republican voters hitting the polls on Saturday.

Throughout the 2018 midterm election, I was impressed by how the Democrats managed to turn out their base vote, making some slam dunk contests where the Republicans were supposed to win big into nailbiters and in other races where Democrats defeated GOP candidates in what were considered “safe” seats.

Though Louisiana trends Republican in statewide elections, that’s assuming that all voter turnout is constant. There’s no guarantee it will be.

Last month in a relatively quiet state representative contest in a solidly Republican corner of St. Tammany Parish, an underfunded Democrat came within a half-dozen votes of making the runoff.

Democrats proved to be highly motivated this year and their enthusiasm might not have evaporated since November. Though Democrats were handed a defeat on Tuesday in Georgia’s December runoff for Secretary of State. So far, in early voting in advance of Saturday’s election there were 10,000 more Democrat voters casting ballots (57,000) than there were Republicans (47,000), which indicates that enthusiasm may not have waned.

Louisiana Republicans cannot take the Secretary of State election for granted and can’t afford to be caught napping in this low-profile and low-turnout contest that could be further impacted by bad weather.

Republicans have won every Secretary of State election in Louisiana since 1991 and this would be a most inopportune time to snap our winning streak.

Vote to keep Kyle Ardoin as our Secretary of State on Saturday and between now and then be sure to tell a friend or two.

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