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Election Denial in Louisiana

  • 1 Election Denier currently holds statewide office with election oversight power.

  • 1 Election Denier won an election for statewide office this year.

  • 5 Election Deniers have held, or run for, statewide office since 2020.

The landscape in Louisiana

When Rep. Mike Johnson became Speaker of the House in October 2023, ending three weeks of Republican infighting, Louisiana suddenly became the home of one of the most prominent Election Deniers in America.

Johnson objected to certification of the 2020 election and played a central role in efforts to overturn it. From the beginning, he called lies about the election results in Georgia “credible” and embraced a conspiracy theory about voting machines. He organized colleagues in Congress to support Texas v. Pennsylvania, the frivolous Supreme Court lawsuit that sought to invalidate legitimate election results in key states.

More than a year after Jan. 6, Johnson was still arguing on his podcast that those objections were justified. Then, after he became Speaker, he tried to wave away questions about his election denial. But the questions won’t go away. The House Speaker has a significant public platform and plays a critical role in the peaceful transfer of power. Johnson isn’t the only congressional Election Denier in the state. He was one of five Louisiana members of Congress who voted to overturn 2020 election results.

Elsewhere in Louisiana, Jeff Landry will become the eighth Election Denier serving as Governor of a state when he’s sworn in early in 2024. While serving as Attorney General, Landry expressed support for Texas v. Pennsylvania. As Bolts reported, election results in other Louisiana races signaled that conspiracy theories still have plenty of pull.

Also, Louisiana voters in 2023 approved a constitutional amendment to ban outside funding for state and local election administration. Opposition to such funding traces in part to a conspiracy theory about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

1 Election Denier holds statewide Office right now.

Elections are run by the states. In Louisiana, the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State are the state officials responsible for overseeing elections. It’s up to them to make sure the will of the people is always respected.

Read more about The Roles of Our Elected Officials in Elections

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Election Deniers
Headshot of Jeff Landry
Jeff Landry

Attorney General of Louisiana

Term started 2020

Term ends 2024

Election Denier
Election Denial Record What makes an Election Denier
  • Taken action to undermine the integrity of the 2020 presidential election or subsequent election cycles, including:

    • Filing or supporting litigation seeking to overturn the results based on conspiracies or baseless legal theories.

    • Filing or supporting litigation that was sanctioned for being malicious or without merit in the aftermath of an election.

    • Promoting or participating in a Stop the Steal–sponsored or branded event or rally during or following the 2020 election.

    • Calling for a “forensic audit” of the 2020 presidential election or a race in subsequent elections after the results were certified, were officially audited, or stood up to multiple legal challenges.

  • Falsely claimed former President Trump won the 2020 presidential election instead of the legitimate winner, President Biden.

  • Spread lies or promoted conspiracies about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election or subsequent election cycles in public, including in social media, press statements, or comments to the press.

  • Refused to certify, or called on or pressured election officials to refuse to certify, the 2020 presidential election results or a race in subsequent elections based on meritless claims about election fraud, voter fraud, misinformation, or lies.

  • Refused to concede a race, or publicly supported a candidate’s refusal to concede a race, after the results were officially audited or stood up to multiple legal challenges.

How Louisiana compares

Every state runs its own elections, with its own laws and processes. Check out how Louisiana compares with other states in its region when it comes to Election Deniers holding state election administration jobs.

Election Denial in Southeast States

Sitting official is an Election Denier

  1. In Florida, the Governor appoints the Secretary of State. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is an Election Denier and appointed Cord Byrd as Florida’s Secretary of State in May 2022.
  2. In North Carolina, the Executive Director is appointed by the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
  3. In South Carolina, the Executive Director is appointed by the South Carolina Election Commission.
  4. In Tennessee, the Secretary of State is appointed by the legislature.
  5. In Virginia, the Governor appoints the Commissioner of Elections.

Voter turnout over time

Voters are always the backstop against election denial, whether Election Deniers are already in office or vying for power. It’s important to turn out for every election in your state—and to vote in every race on your ballot. Downballot races, like contests for Attorney General and Secretary of State, have historically drawn fewer voters, even though the positions are critical to keeping elections free, fair, and secure. Here’s a look at voter participation in Louisiana elections over time. Notice that in years with several important positions up for election, some voters choose not to vote in every race.

Voter Participation in Louisiana Since 2016

Attorney General
Secretary of State
  1. 2016 Presidential

    • President had a 59% voter turnout rate

    • Senator had a 56% voter turnout rate

  2. 2016 Run off

    • Senator had a 26% voter turnout rate

  3. 2018 Midterm

    • Secretary of State had a 42% voter turnout rate

  4. 2019 Off-year

    • Governor had a 44% voter turnout rate

    • Secretary of State had a 43% voter turnout rate

  5. 2020 Presidential

    • President had a 62% voter turnout rate

    • Senator had a 60% voter turnout rate

Voter turnout

Data on the number of votes cast in each race are from state elections depositories, supplemented with data from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), House Election Statistics, and The Book of States. Rates are calculated using the Census’s Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) estimates. Rates will be updated when the Census releases new CVAP data for 2022.

Beyond the ballot box

Each year, state legislators introduce thousands of bills related to elections. And in the past few years, we’ve identified a concerning trend. Across the country, state legislatures are considering bills that would make it easier for partisan actors to manipulate an election, and maybe even overturn the will of the people. We’re tracking these bills along with our partners in an ongoing series of reports called “A Democracy Crisis in the Making.” In 2023 alone, through early May, we tracked 185 bills introduced in 38 state legislatures that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with elections. 

The anti-democracy playbook is simple: change the rules and change the referees, in order to change the results. These bills go hand-in-hand with the Election Denier movement: They’re about taking power away from voters and making it harder for trusted election officials to do their jobs.

Read the full report

Legislative Interference in Louisiana by Category

As of May 3, 2023, 2 bills had been introduced or were under consideration in Louisiana. 1 has been enacted or adopted and 1 has been vetoed after passing.

These bills show that the threat to elections in Louisiana, and all across the country, goes well beyond the ballot box.

  • Imposing disproportionate criminal or other penalties.
    These bills would create or expand penalties for election officials in the ordinary execution of their jobs, including criminalizing inadvertent mistakes.
  • Creating unworkable burdens in election administration.
    These bills would interfere with the basic procedures of election administration, increasing the risk of chaos and delay and enabling misleading claims of irregularity.
  • Seizing power over election responsibilities.
    These bills would shift election administration responsibilities away from professional, nonpartisan officials and toward partisan actors in the legislature.
  • Usurping control over election results.
    These bills would give legislators or other state officials direct control over election outcomes.
  • Requiring partisan or unprofessional election “audits” or reviews.
    These bills would establish vague post-election review schemes without the professional standards of traditional audits.