Ascension Parish voters turn out early in record numbers

Michael Tortorich

Local voters followed the trend around the state, breaking records for early voting in the 2020 election.

A patch of signs sit near the railroad underpass on East Bayou Road in Donaldsonville.

Ascension Parish Clerk of Court Bridget Morris Hanna reported 41 percent of voters as turning in ballots during the 10-day early voting period. 

A total of 34,264 individuals voted early out of 81,942 voters, according to Hanna and the Secretary of State’s statistical report.

Early voting and absentee mail-in ballots brought the statewide total to nearly 1 million.

Voters revealed a variety of reasons for going to the polls early in Prairieville, Gonzales, and Donaldsonville.

Stephanie Madere Dawsey said she voted on the opening day of early voting. The process took about 20 minutes and went smoothly, she added.

“I vote early because tomorrow is not guaranteed, and I wanted to make sure my vote counted, especially in this election,” Dawsey said.

Sherri Veazey completed the process in just seven minutes after leaving her workplace. Only 10 people were in front of her in line, she said.

“I have decided early voting is going to be my way to go from now on,” Veazey said.

Mark Lousteau said he voted early with his granddaughter.

“I’m teaching her that the right to vote should be cherished, and every vote does count,” he said.

Many voters expressed a preference for voting early due to concerns over long wait times on Election Day, and potential problems getting to the voting booth. Others rather a traditional experience.

“There’s just something about going to the polls on Election Day. And, of course, wearing my ‘I voted’ sticker,” Desiree Veazey said.

Diane Olson Martin expressed feeling American while standing in line on Election Day. This year, she decided to spare herself of a potential wait time by voting early at the Oak Grove Community Center. 

Like many voters there, she said the entire process took about 15 minutes, and encountered friendly commissioners.

“And, most of all, I still felt like an American, and that’s a good thing,” Martin said.

Courtney Griggs agreed with the idea of waiting until Nov. 3 to go to the polls..

“I love the ceremony of voting on Election Day and watching TV all night as the polls close and the numbers add up,” Griggs said. “It just feels very American to me.”