- Associated Press - Friday, October 9, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Early voting begins Saturday for Louisiana’s Oct. 24 election, with candidates urging supporters to cast their ballots in advance since the statewide and local races are expected to compete for attention on Election Day with college football games and hunting plans.

People seeking to vote early have a weeklong period available around the state. Here’s a look at the ballot and how to vote in advance:

TOP OF THE BALLOT

Louisiana voters will be asked to choose a new governor to replace Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is term-limited and leaves office in January.

Nine candidates are on the ballot, though only four have conducted significant fundraising and are considered major contenders: Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards and Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter.

Louisiana’s open primary places all candidates, regardless of party, in an election against each other. If no one receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters advance to a Nov. 21 runoff.

MORE STATEWIDE RACES

After governor, six other statewide jobs are near the top of the ballot: lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, agriculture commissioner and insurance commissioner.

The lieutenant governor’s race is wide open because its current occupant, Dardenne, is running for governor. Four candidates are competing. The three Republicans are former Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, state Sen. Elbert Guillory of Opelousas and Jefferson Parish President John Young. Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden is the lone Democrat.

Incumbents are running for re-election for the five other statewide positions, most with candidates who are less well-funded and have been able to do little advertising.

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell faces strong competition from a fellow Republican, former GOP Congressman Jeff Landry. Also in the race are Baton Rouge-area lawyer Marty Maley, a Republican, and two Democrats, Geraldine Broussard Baloney and Ike Jackson.

ALSO UP FOR DECISION

Also on the ballot are state legislative races, competitions for the eight elected seats to the state’s top school board and local elected positions in municipalities across Louisiana.

The Secretary of State’s Office says there are more than 1,000 candidate races around the state. In addition, four constitutional amendments are proposed statewide, and local propositions will be decided in 27 parishes.

The nonpartisan Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana has information on the statewide constitutional amendments at: http://bit.ly/1WPBe1W.

HOW AND WHERE TO VOTE

Early voting runs from Saturday through Oct. 17, at parish registrar of voters’ offices and other designated locations. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, but closed on Sunday.

The Secretary of State’s Office has a complete list of early voting locations at: https://voterportal.sos.la.gov/EarlyVoting. More details also are available on the GeauxVote mobile app for cellphones, including voting locations and sample ballots.

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