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How are STATEWIDE AND LOCAL Candidates Elected?

Learn how state, local, and congressional candidates are elected in Louisiana.

Learn how political party candidates are elected in Louisiana.

Learn how candidates for presidential nominee in the Presidential Preference Primary are elected in Louisiana.

Learn how candidates for Presidential Elector for President and Vice President of the United States are elected.

Learn how candidates are certified to office in Louisiana.

State, Local, and Congressional Primary Elections are Majority Vote Elections

All statewide and local candidates in Louisiana are elected by majority vote. A majority vote is one more than 50% of the total votes cast for that office. When one candidate is to be elected, a candidate who receives a majority of the votes cast for an office in a primary election is elected. If no candidate receives a majority, the top two candidates who receive the most votes advance to the general election.

Example: If Candidate A received 3,617 votes and the number of votes for Candidate B (892), Candidate C (996), and Candidate D (747) = 2,635 then Candidate A has received a majority vote.

If the number of candidates receiving the highest tie vote exceeds the number of persons to be elected, they all advance to the general election.

State, Local, and Congressional General Elections are Plurality Vote Elections

Candidates who qualify for each office remaining to be filled in a general election are those who received the two highest votes, four highest votes, etc... until the maximum number of candidates for each office is reached, except in the case of a tie vote.

The candidate who receives the most votes cast for an office in a general election is elected. If two or more offices are to be filled, those candidates receiving the highest total of votes are elected to the number of offices to be filled. If there is a tie vote among more candidates than offices to be filled, all candidates who received the highest number of tie votes advance to another election to be held on the 3rd Saturday after the promulgation of the election results.

Any votes received by a unopposed, disqualified, or deceased candidate shall be void and not counted for any purpose whatsoever.

Two or More To Be Elected

If there are two or more offices of the same character to be filled, the number of votes necessary to constitute a majority shall be the greater result obtained by:

  • dividing the total votes cast for all of the candidates by the number of offices to be filled; and
  • dividing the result so obtained by two plus one.

The total votes cast divided by the number of offices = result, then the result is divided by two + one = the number of votes needed for majority.

Example: If an election race is "Elect Three" and there were 1,040 total votes cast, the total votes are divided by three for the offices to be filled, which is 346.6. The resulting 346.6 is then divided by two to give the minimum threshold needed to win with a majority vote, which is 173.3 rounded up to 174, plus one, which is 175. A candidate needs at least 175 votes to win one of the three offices to be filled. If there are more than three candidates that meet the 175 majority vote threshold, then the three candidates with the most votes will be elected.

If there are remaining offices to be filled due to a lack of a majority in the primary election, the number of candidates who qualify for the general election is twice the number of offices remaining to be filled.

Example: If only one candidate receives the majority vote requirement of 175 in the above example, then the highest four vote getters (twice the number of offices remaining to be filled) advance to the general election.

If the number of candidates who qualify for an office does not exceed the number of persons to be elected at the close of qualifying, or those remaining after the withdrawal of candidates before the election does not exceed the number of persons to be elected, they are declared elected as unopposed candidates and their name shall not appear on the ballot.

Certification of Candidates

Elected candidates in a regularly scheduled election are certified by the secretary of state within 30 days of the general election.

Elected candidates in a special election due to a vacancy of an unexpired term are certified by the secretary of state promptly. For more information on oaths of office visit the Commissions Division.

Political Party Candidates are Elected by Plurality Vote

Candidates for membership in the democratic and republican state central committee and parish executive committee in each parish are not classified as local candidates and are elected by plurality vote in accordance with La R.S. 18:443 and La R.S. 18:444. They have one closed party primary election every four years at the presidential preference primary election.

Where one political party candidate is to be elected, the candidate who receives the greater number of votes cast is elected if the number of candidates who qualified for office exceeds the number of candidates to be elected for that office.

Where two or more political party candidates are to be elected, each candidate who received the greater number of votes cast as compared with the number of votes cast for each other candidate is elected until all offices are filled. No run-off election is used and instead the offices are filled by a public drawing of lots conducted by the state central committee or the parish executive committee.

Candidates for Presidential Nominee are Elected by Majority Vote

The Presidential Preference Primary is held every four years in the spring of the presidential election year to select the nominee for the party by majority vote.

Candidates for Presidential Elector are Elected by Plurality Vote

Slates of candidates of electors for president and vice president are elected by plurality vote. If two or more slates of candidates receive the same highest number of votes, none of the slates are elected and the slate of candidates elected are selected by a public drawing of lots conducted by the state board of election supervisors at the state capitol on a day and time fixed by the board within one week after the results of the election become official. The governor issues a certificate of election to the persons elected and authorizes them to cast the vote of the state for president and vice president at the Electoral College.

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