State of Louisiana

Louisiana Caddo Parish Sheriff Election Contest

Nickelson v. Whitehorn

Lawsuit filed by John Nickelson, Republican candidate for Caddo Parish sheriff in 2023, against his Democratic opponent, Henry Whitehorn, and then-Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R) requesting a new election due to several voters allegedly casting illegal ballots. In the Nov. 18 runoff election and subsequent recount, Nickelson lost to Whitehorn by a one-vote margin in a race with over 43,000 ballots cast. Nickelson alleged that at least two voters voted twice, five voters voted with improper absentee ballots and four voters voted who were ineligible to vote. Additionally, he alleged the Board of Elections Supervisors acted inconsistently in how they decided whether to include or exclude ballots, discarding some improper ballots and counting others. The parties litigated these claims at a Nov. 30 trial.

On Dec. 5, the district court ruled in favor of Nickelson, concluding that there were enough illegal votes cast to determine the outcome of the race, and ordered a new election. Whitehorn appealed that decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. On Dec. 12, a five-judge panel affirmed the district court in 3-2 ruling. 

On Dec. 14, Whitehorn filed a petition for an emergency writ of certiorari to the Louisiana Supreme Court, asking them to review the case. On Dec. 28, the court denied Whitehorn’s emergency petition. A new election will be held during the state’s municipal primary in March 2024.

Case Documents (TRial Court)

Case Documents (Appellate Court)

Case Documents (La. Supreme Court)

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