The first entrants into the race for the Secretary of State’s office are trickling in, in the wake of a poll that showed nearly a third of Louisianans are undecided on who they will be voting for come November. Attorney General’s Director of the Public Protection Division, and Democrat, Renee Fontenot Free says her years of public service make her the ideal candidate.

“I helped merge the election function with the secretary of state’s office. I was there and was deeply embedded in the elections process after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, so I know the office, it enjoyed the work, because you're doing it for the people.”

Democrats have struggled to take statewide offices in Louisiana for the last decade, but Free says her registration as a Democrat really has no bearing on her qualifications for a nonpolitical job.

“This office is mostly ministerial, and because of the involvement with the election process, it cannot be polarizing.”

Free says if elected, she’d work on boosting the state’s remarkably low voter participation rates that can be in the teens for many statewide and local elections.

“The election turnout has been very dismal, and it has continued to decline and I think we need to energize the public about the election process, and that every vote counts.

She’ll be running to replace Tom Schedler, who stepped down after being accused of sexually harassing and stalking his secretary for nearly a decade.

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