A record number of Louisianans voted early this year, giving the Secretary of State’s Office reason to anticipate the polls will be packed next Tuesday.

Approximately 340,653 of the 2.9 million registered voters in Louisiana cast ballots during the weeklong early voting period, which ended Tuesday, says secretary of state spokeswoman Meg Casper.

Compared to Louisiana’s early voting totals during the 2008 presidential election, Casper says this year’s turnout is about 24 to 25 percent higher.

Casper says she’s pretty confident Tuesday’s statewide turnout will also eclipse the 67 percent reported for the 2008 election.

Other factors adding to this year’s election hype are a bevy of state and local elections, including an open seat on Louisiana’s Public Service Commission, nine constitutional amendments, six congressional contests, and a number of judgeships and mayoral races, among others.

“It seems people have a lot of interest in this year’s ballot,” says Casper. “The polls here in Baton Rouge and in New Orleans have been very busy. We’re mostly attributing it to the high level of interest in the presidential election. And, with election day on a Tuesday, a lot of folks may find it hard to get to the polls and stand in line. By voting early, they have a week to do it on their own time.”

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