CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Heavy rainfall on election day could play a major role in the number of people who show up to the polls and vote in the election Saturday, October 24.
For the past quarter of a century Ernie Roberson has served as the Caddo Parish Registrar of Voters. He's seen more than his share of elections and has a prediction about voter turnout for this election. "I still think we're going to be in the mid-40's overall turnout." He said that's typical for this type of election.
But Roberson is also the first to tell you that bad weather can drop that estimate quickly. "Usually it's whenever you have a storm and you have problems related to the storm and then it affects the turnout." Roberson described a worst case scenario as a 5-to-6 percent drop in turnout if the weather gets very bad.
Otherwise, the weather may just delay voters from going to the polls until conditions improve. "And the great thing about it now is, versus the old days, everybody follows the radar so they kind of pick up on what's going on and they know when I can sprint out of the house to go vote before the next shower comes along."
A big wild card on a rainy election day involves older voters. Mary Alice Rountree, Executive Director of the Caddo Council on Aging explained, "They're scared of those falls."
Rountree said that's no trivial matter because of what a fall can represent to seniors. "They'll maybe break a hip, they'll maybe break something. And you know, that kind of starts a whole process. So seniors are very, very scared about falls."
Rountree said that fear cannot be overstated because of the potential negative spiral in health and mobility. That's why she and her organization, the Caddo Council on Aging strongly recommend wearing a medical alert pendant.
They contract with 'Acadian on Call.' Rountree added, "That pendant, now you can get one for about five more dollars and it's got GPS on it. They can take that pendant with them."
Rountree's biggest fear is too much talk about falls will only scare seniors, instead of just reminding them to be a little extra careful if it's wet outside when they go to vote on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Roberson said election day weather doesn't just affect older voters, but also anyone who does not have transportation. That includes voters who must walk to the polls and who may choose not to go vote if it's too wet outside.