BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Early voting opens Saturday for any of Louisiana's 2.9 million registered voters seeking to cast their ballots in advance of Louisiana's December runoff.
The Dec. 6 election will settle hotly-contested congressional races, along with local competitions for mayors, district attorneys, judgeships and school board seats.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler is encouraging people to vote early if they can.
"This is always a busy time of year with families traveling and time off of work, but it's important not to forget about the Dec. 6 election, especially with the congressional runoffs as well as many important local races. By casting your ballot early, you can vote on your own schedule when it's most convenient," Schedler said in a written statement.
Here's what voters should know if they want to cast their ballots early:
Early voting runs from Saturday through Nov. 29, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. But it will be closed on Sunday, Thanksgiving day and the Friday after Thanksgiving. The holiday gives people two fewer days to vote early than they usually get in advance of a Louisiana election.
WHERE TO VOTE:
People can vote early at their parish registrar of voters office, and some parishes have other designated locations as well. A full list of early voting sites is on the Secretary of State's website at http://1.usa.gov/1Ft2b3V .
TOP OF THE BALLOT:
Grabbing the most attention is the race for the U.S. Senate seat, the only statewide contest to be decided. Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu is threatened with ouster by Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Cassidy leads in the polls. He's campaigned mainly against President Barack Obama, saying a vote for Landrieu is equivalent to supporting the unpopular president. Landrieu says the race isn't about national politics, but about who's best to represent Louisiana, and she says she has a strong record of leadership for the state.
ALSO AWAITING DECISIONS:
Two other congressional seats are up for grabs.
In the northeast Louisiana-based 5th District, Republican incumbent Vance McAllister didn't even make the runoff after a cheating scandal. Voters will chose between Ralph Abraham, a Republican doctor, and Jamie Mayo, the Democratic mayor of Monroe.
The Baton Rouge-based 6th District seat is open because Cassidy is running for the Senate. The contest is between Garret Graves, a Republican who worked as Gov. Bobby Jindal's chief coastal adviser, and Edwin Edwards, the 87-year-old Democratic former governor who served time in federal prison for a corruption conviction.
Meanwhile, local races remain to be settled around the state.
All told, ballots around Louisiana list 201 elected positions to be filled and 124 propositions to be decided, according to the Secretary of State's Office.
The Secretary of State's Office has a mobile app, called GeauxVote, where voters can find out where they vote and what's on their ballot.