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Power Restored To Every Polling Place, New Orleans Has A Smooth Start To Election Day

Orleans Parish residents wait to cast their vote outside St. David Catholic Church Tuesday, November 3.
Travis Lux
/
WWNO
Orleans Parish residents wait to cast their vote outside St. David Catholic Church Tuesday, November 3.

Election Day in Orleans Parish appears to be going smoothly, despite the last-minute threat of several polling locations needing generator power as electrical crews continue working to restore power after Hurricane Zeta.

Elections officials at three locations that were expected to need backup power — St. David Catholic Church in the 9th Ward, Mt. Kingdom Missionary Baptist Church in the Desire, and Blessed Francis Seelos Catholic Church in the Bywater — said Tuesday morning that they didn’t end up needing generator power and were operating as normal.

Orleans Parish Clerk of Court Arthur Morrell told The Advocate that power had been restored to all three ahead of polls opening and that voting was proceeding as normal across the city. A spokesperson for the City of New Orleans told New Orleans Public Radio the city was not aware of any Election Day issues so far.

St. David had a long but fast-moving line down the sidewalk from the front door by 8:30 a.m.

People wait to vote outside St. David Catholic Church in the 9th Ward on November 3, 2020.
Credit Travis Lux / WWNO
/
WWNO
People wait to vote outside St. David Catholic Church in the 9th Ward on November 3, 2020.

Dominique Miller, who casts her vote at that location every election, said she’d never seen lines that long on election day.

“I think because of the pandemic the line is long, but it’s moving,” she said.

A few miles upriver in the Bywater, Corrinne Almeida was pleasantly surprised she didn’t need to dig into the snacks she’d packed anticipating a long wait to vote.

“I literally just walked right in, there was no one ahead of me. I guess a lot of people must have early-voted.”

She said a poll worker inside told her there had been a line when the doors opened at 6 a.m., a fact she was happy to learn “because it means people cared enough” to cast a vote.

Indeed, most voters seemed more concerned about the issues on the ballot than any possible problems with logistics.

“It just seems like the most obvious thing in the world,” Almeida said of voting in this election. “I feel like I’ve gotten to live this really blissful existence up until the past four years where I really didn’t have to understand that much about politics. And it’s not my jam. I really don’t understand a lot of the ins and outs. It’s just not how my brain functions, and I detest it. But this goes beyond what you like. It’s about human rights.”

Almeida said she voted against Constitutional Amendment 1, which would add an article to the Louisiana constitution saying the state does not guarantee the right to abortion, shoud Roe v. Wade ever be overturned.

That amendment was on the mind of Johnny Taylor when he cast his vote this morning at St. David Catholic Church.

“This election is very crucial for me,” he said. “There’s a lot of things on the ballot, especially for women. I don’t think a man should tell a woman what to do with their body, and it’s not anybody’s choice but the female’s choice.”

Johnny Taylor smiles after voting at St. David Catholic Church in the 9th Ward on Tuesday, November 3.
Credit Travis Lux / WWNO
/
WWNO
Johnny Taylor smiles after voting at St. David Catholic Church in the 9th Ward on Tuesday, November 3.

He added that he hoped Joe Biden would win the presidency, saying he didn’t think Donald Trump “was the right person for this election.” Taylor, who is Black, felt like racial tensions were amplified this election cycle — something he did not appreciate.

“It should be about people living together and making it happen for each other. That’s my opinion,” he said.

Polls close at 8 p.m. in Louisiana, but with many states inundated by mail-in ballots and record turnout, Corrinne Almeida doesn’t expect to know the results anytime soon.

“I think it’s gonna be a long time before it’s really over … so no matter how this goes I feel like it’s a long road to recovery, and I’m just really hopeful that when this is all over that it comes out in the favor of the majority of Americans.”

Corrinne Almeida poses outside the Blessed Francis Seelos Catholic Church polling location on November 3, 2020.
Credit Travis Lux / WWNO
/
WWNO
Corrinne Almeida poses outside the Blessed Francis Seelos Catholic Church polling location on November 3, 2020.

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