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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Lafourche registrar of voters spreads the word about elections

Lafourche registrar of voters spreads the word about elections

Mike Boudreaux remembers riding his bike and playing hide-and-go-seek in the Thibodaux voting machine warehouse as a child.

“My dad was there, my grandpa was there,” he said. “It was part of my life.”

His father and grandfather were elections technicians, and Boudreaux is carrying on the family tradition. After working as an elections manager for the state for nearly three decades, he’s now registrar of voters for Lafourche Parish.

The Parish Council appointed Boudreaux on May 23 to replace Mary Doucet, who died April 11. Doucet was appointed as registrar in 2010 after serving as chief deputy registrar for over 25 years.

“Three or four months prior to the appointment, Mary said, ‘Mike, I don’t want it,’” Boudreaux recalled. “I said, ‘Well, Mary, I’m going to put my name up. I want the job.’ About three weeks before the appointment, she decided that she was going to run for it. I said, ‘If you want it, I’m backing out. This is not my time. This is your time.’ I just didn’t feel it was right. I thought she deserved it.”

Boudreaux took office June 12. He said the registrar’s position is typically a lifelong appointment.

One of his plans is to visit polling places to identify problems and suggest solutions. Some need to be updated to be more accessible and meet federal standards, he said.

He also hopes to open an early voting site at the Mathews Government Complex next year. Currently, residents can only vote early at the registrar’s offices in Thibodaux and Galliano.

“If we can save these people from central Lafourche driving 20, 25 miles this way or 20, 25 miles south to Galliano, let’s help the people,” he said.

About 8 percent of Lafourche voters participated in the last election on Nov. 18. Boudreaux is doing his part to increase turnout.

His staff visits nursing homes and works to spread the word about mail-in ballots for senior citizens.

He’s also been helping with the #OurBayouVotes program Clerk of Court Annette Fontana started this year. Hundreds of local high school students have registered to vote through the program, which teaches them about elections and the importance of voting.

“If their parents don’t get out and vote and participate in current affairs, I don’t see where the kids will,” Boudreaux said.

-- Staff Writer Bridget Mire can be reached at 448-7639 or Follow her on Twitter @bridget_mire.