Judge Orders Re-Election in Louisiana Sheriff’s Race After Candidate Wins by One Vote Twice
A Louisiana judge has called for a new election in the tightly contested Caddo Parish sheriff's race that has made headlines in recent weeks. Retired Louisiana Supreme Court Justice E. Joseph Bleich, overseeing the case, ruled on Tuesday, December 5, that the November 18 runoff election results, where Henry Whitehorn edged out John Nickelson by a mere one vote, be declared void.
The judge's ruling was grounded in evidence indicating "significant irregularities" in the voting process. These included at least 11 illegal votes, casting a shadow over the legitimacy of the election outcome. The irregularities identified were:
- Double voting by two individuals
- At least five absentee/mail-in ballots were counted despite failing to comply with legal requirements
- Four votes cast by individuals deemed unqualified due to interdiction
In his ruling, Judge Bleich emphasized the necessity of a new runoff election to preserve the integrity of the electoral process and uphold the public's right to uncorrupted election results. This particular sheriff's race has been used to highlight the importance of every lawful vote in determining electoral outcomes, not to mention the specific voting laws and regulations associated with those elections.
Reacting to the ruling, Henry Whitehorn expressed his disappointment, emphasizing his belief in the constitutional process and the significance of every vote. Whitehorn, underscoring his victories in two successive elections, voiced concerns about the fairness of the decision and announced his intention to appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeal and, if necessary, to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Conversely, John Nickelson welcomed the decision, viewing it as a triumph for election integrity. He expressed gratitude for the court's ruling and pledged to work diligently to demonstrate why his vision for a safer, stronger Caddo Parish deserves the electorate's support.
The case's complexity was further highlighted by the recusal of three district judges due to personal connections with the involved parties. This situation underscores the intertwined nature of local politics and the judicial system.
Both candidates' legal teams presented their cases in court on November 30, followed by post-trial briefs in early December. Scott Sternberg, lead counsel for Nickelson, emphasized the rarity and gravity of challenging an election and expressed confidence in the ruling's alignment with ensuring a lawful vote count.
As Caddo Parish prepares for a new chapter in this electoral saga, the focus shifts to the upcoming special election in March. This rerun not only promises to be a decisive moment for the candidates but highlights the importance of every single VALID vote in our elections.
See the full story here at KSLA.
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Gallery Credit: Hannah Lang