New Louisiana Sheriff Election Ordered By State Supreme Court

In a win for election integrity, the Louisiana Supreme Court recently upheld a ruling made by a lower court regarding fraud in the sheriff’s election of Caddo Parish, Louisiana, that warranted a new election.

“When a court is presented with proven errors, even when no candidate is responsible for those errors, it is compelled to act and uphold our Election Code,” Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Scott Crichton wrote in the court’s majority opinion. “In this case, a new election will ensure confidence in the final outcome.”

Shortly after The Pelican State conducted its Nov. 18, 2023, sheriff election, the Democratic candidate, Henry Whitehorn, defeated the Republican challenger, John Nickelson, by one vote in the race to become Caddo Parish’s next sheriff.

Considering the vote disparity, a recount was ordered and found “three additional votes for each candidate,” resulting in Whitehorn’s victory.

Nickelson then brought a legal challenge alleging that “the count was done too quickly and could not be accurate.” The Republican sheriff candidate’s challenge was taken up by a local district court.

Upon reviewing the lawsuit, ad hoc Judge Joe Bleich determined that multiple votes cast in the Caddo Parish sheriff election were fraudulent, including “two people [who] voted twice, five mail-in ballots [that] should not have been counted for failure to comply with the law, and … four invalid votes by interdicted persons who were unqualified voters.”

Bleich then ordered a new election in Caddo Parish — a decision that Whitehorn quickly appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

The circuit court agreed with Bleich’s ruling, prompting Whitehorn to again appeal his case to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which declined to hear arguments regarding the case, paving the way for the Caddo Parish sheriff election to be redone.

While siding with the Louisiana High Court’s majority, Crichton pointed out the significant effect one vote could have on the electoral system and praised lower courts for reaching “the correct result in declaring the election void and ordering a new election.”

“In a race as close as this, an irregularity affecting even a single vote cannot be disregarded,” Crichton said in his concurrence.