Audit gives Louisiana high marks on election integrity

A review of Louisiana’s election processes and procedures found that state officials follow practices to ensure the integrity of results when voters go to the polls. Louisiana’s legislative auditor also provided recommendations to the Louisiana Department of State on how it can further strengthen its election protocols in a report it came out on Monday.

The audit focused on five main areas: the accuracy of the state’s voter registration list; whether the postal ballots have been correctly completed; pre-election testing of voting machines; post-election verification of results; and how election complaints are handled.

The state verifies its voting roll with state and national data, as required by federal and state law. The legislative auditor analyzed the list as of August 18, 2021 and found that all records contained complete information in the first and last name fields. Only 192 of the 3.03 million records — or 0.0063% — did not include the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number or driver’s license number, as required by federal law. . These voters may have submitted other proof of identity, such as a utility bill, which federal law allows

The audit also revealed that only 27 records on the voter registration list were duplicates, or just 0.0009% of the total. State elections staff told auditors that their records did not confirm that any of the 27 duplicates had voted twice in an election and that the 27 duplicate records had been resolved.

The Louisiana Department of State filed 501 election complaints between fiscal years 2017 and 2021, according to the audit. The largest share, 31%, related to campaign practices, which cover allegations ranging from improper placement of campaign signs to vote buying and voter intimidation. More than a quarter of the complaints were about alleged fraud, such as voters trying to vote or registering to vote somewhere other than the parish or constituency where they live.

Of the 501 complaints, the state’s Election Compliance Unit forwarded 19 to authorities after they gathered evidence indicating criminal violations, according to the audit report. At least four people implicated in three of the complaints have been prosecuted and convicted.

One of the Legislative Auditor’s recommendations was for election officials to check mail-in ballots, which has become an increasingly popular option with voters in recent years. Other states, including Georgia and Maryland, require absence audits.

Currently, Louisiana only recounts mail-in ballots when they could make a difference in the outcome of an election. The State Department accepted this recommendation and other recommendations from auditors, but said it would take more time and manpower to audit any ballot between a primary and an election. general.

The audit report comes as state officials and lawmakers weigh Louisiana’s options for new voting machines. Current direct record electronic machines have been in use since the early 2000s and are likely to be replaced by technology that provides a paper trail that can be audited.

Find the full report of the legislative auditor here.

Get morning headlines delivered to your inbox

Comments are closed.