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Sunday, June 23, 2019

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Central Lafourche early voting location unveiled

Central Lafourche early voting location unveiled

Years of community efforts culminated in the opening of a new early voting location in central Lafourche Thursday.

Interim Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle, Councilman Corey Perrillioux, Registrar of Voters Mike Boudreaux and Clerk of Court Annette Fontana unveiled the new polling location in Mathews with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house.

“This is something I think we’ve all been working on for months, years, and think we all got it together now. Come November, through the rest of time, I think it’s going to be a positive change for the parish,” Boudreaux said.

With about 26 percent of all votes cast in each election during early voting, the new location gives greater opportunity for the residents of central Lafourche to exercise their right to vote, Ardoin said.

The new polling location is located inside the Mathews Government Complex, 4876 La. 1.

For years, voters in the central part of the parish would have to drive 30 to 45 minutes each way to participate in early voting in Thibodaux or Galliano, Cantrelle said.

“I couldn’t be more proud of a team effort between the registrar and the parish government and the secretary of state,” Ardoin said. “That’s what it takes to bring the opportunity to vote to central Lafourche and all of Lafourche.”

In addition to the other options available to senior citizens, the addition of a third early voting site in the parish helps add to the accessibility, Fontana said.

“It’s good to see that we’re all working together for something positive,” Cantrelle said.

The latest round of community efforts was made by central Lafourche residents Charles and Carol LeBlanc two years and eight months ago, they said.

When the new administration and council took office, the couple began contacting state and local officials about the need for a new polling location.

“When I first got elected, I held a town hall meeting,” Perrillioux said. “The LeBlancs, Charles and Carol, showed up and stressed that they’d love to see something like this happen.”

At the first council meeting of the new administration, the matter was discussed and it snowballed from there, Charles LeBlanc said.

A college connection between Reggie Bagala, the council’s now legislative auditor and former parish administrator, and Ardoin, then-assistant secretary of state, helped move the project along further, Ardoin said.

“After seeing it come together and seeing the results, I think this is a great thing for central Lafourche and something we can all be proud of as a team that put this thing together,” Perrillioux said.

“This is a wonderfully positive move on the part of the parish,” Charles LeBlanc said.

If residents of central Lafourche can make it to the Walmart next door, they can come participate in early voting, he said.

The new polling location took work, requiring new equipment and wiring to be installed at the Mathews building.That was only possible through a cooperative agreement between the parish and the state, Ardoin said.

The estimated initial costs for the new site totaled roughly $20,000, the agreement states.

“This is just the epitome of local and state government working together to bring something to the people that they well deserve and utilizing their tax dollars directly for them,” Ardoin said. “If citizens don’t bring ideas to us, like the LeBlancs, those of us who are in leadership positions are unable to do much of anything until we know what the people need and deserve.”

-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Julia Arenstam can be reached at 448-7636 or Follow her on Twitter at @JuliaArenstam.