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Louisiana Sheriff Election Decided by a Single Vote with Over 43,000 Ballots Cast

In a closely contested election in the northwest corner of Louisiana, a candidate for parish sheriff has requested a recount after losing by only one vote. The election saw a significant turnout, with more than 43,000 people casting their votes.

This outcome has drawn attention to Louisiana’s recount process and its outdated voting machines, which lack an auditable paper trail. Experts argue that such a paper trail is essential to ensuring the accuracy of election results.

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John Nickelson, the Republican candidate who trailed by one vote, took to social media to demand a hand recount to protect the integrity of the democratic process and uphold the will of the people. Meanwhile, Henry Whitehorn, the victorious Democrat, has not provided any comment as of yet.

Mike Spence, the Caddo Clerk of Court, expressed his belief that every vote matters after witnessing a race with this level of closeness, which is unprecedented in terms of voter participation. The recount, which is scheduled for Monday, will focus solely on absentee ballots to check for any errors.

However, these ballots comprise only about 17% of the total vote in the runoff race. Absentee ballots are the only form of auditable paper trail in Louisiana’s current voting system, as in-person votes are paperless.

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Recounting paperless votes would essentially be akin to hitting a “refresh” button, according to David Becker, a former attorney in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Becker, who works with election officials through the nonprofit Center for Election Innovation & Research, emphasized that there are safeguards in place. Election officials test the machines both before and after elections to ensure their accuracy.

Louisiana uses outdated, paperless touch screen voting machines purchased in 2005. While these machines were once considered cutting-edge technology, they remain in use only in Louisiana.

Officials, including Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, have stressed that the state’s elections are secure and that checks and balances are in place to preserve their integrity. The state has even received high praise for its election procedures from the legislative auditor.

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However, the lack of a paper trail has made these machines a target of criticism. The importance of being able to recount ballots was evident during the 2020 election when several battleground states, such as Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, conducted recounts or thorough reviews.

Georgia, a neighboring state to Louisiana, responded to a recount request from Donald Trump by recertifying its presidential election results. Georgia had previously used paperless voting machines similar to those in Louisiana but had switched to a new system that produced paper ballots with a human-readable summary and a QR code.

Election officials across the board agree that Louisiana must replace its current machines. Although Louisiana has been attempting to do so for the past five years, the process has been delayed due to allegations of a rigged bidding process.

Secretary of State-elect Nancy Landry, a Republican who will assume office in January, has made implementing a new voting system a top priority. However, due to the lengthy bidding process and necessary trainings, new machines will not be in place before the 2024 presidential election.

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Malik is a skilled writer with a passion for news and current events. With their keen eye for detail, they provide insightful perspectives on the latest happenings. Stay informed and engaged!