WASHINGTON, D.C. — With 66.8% of the vote, Nancy Landry (R) won Louisiana’s secretary of state race against her opponent Gwen Collins-Greenup (D) over the weekend.
Although Landry won with a strong 33-point margin, only 22% of registered Louisiana voters cast a ballot in Saturday’s election.
Landry is currently Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s second-in-command, while Collins-Greenup is an attorney in Baton Rouge. Collins-Greenup — the only Democrat in the primary in October — and Landry received 19.2% and 19.4%, respectively, in the eight-candidate primary. In 2019, Collins-Greenup unsuccessfully ran against Ardoin, receiving 41% of the vote in the general election.
As the state’s chief election officer, the secretary of state is responsible for preparing and certifying the ballots for all elections, promulgating all election returns and administering Louisiana’s election laws, except those relating to voter registration and custody of voting machines.
Heading into 2024, the state needs to upgrade its outdated voting machines — a monumental task made harder by the recent passage of a constitutional amendment that bans private funding of election administration. Since the 2020 election, the state has also been plagued by right-wing conspiracy theories, which have some Louisiana voters urging the outgoing Ardoin to abandon voting machines in favor of hand counting ballots.
Ardoin — who is retiring on Jan. 8 — is currently the defendant in two lawsuits challenging Louisiana’s congressional and legislative maps for diluting the voting strength of Black voters, who make up 33% of Louisiana’s voting-age population.
Earlier this month, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals set a Jan. 15, 2024 deadline for the Louisiana Legislature to enact a new congressional map or determine that they will not adopt a new plan, in which case a trial will be held on the current map in the district court on Feb. 5, 2024. This redrawing comes after a federal judge blocked the map, agreeing that the map likely violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and has ordered the state to adopt a new map with a second majority-Black district.
In the lawsuit challenging the state’s legislative maps, trial is scheduled to begin next week and last through Dec. 8 to determine if the enacted maps should be blocked in future elections and redrawn to accurately reflect the state’s Black population.
Ardoin is also defending Louisiana’s complicated, bifurcated re-enfranchisement process, which requires someone with a felony conviction to provide extra documentation if they were previously registered to vote. However, if the person was not previously registered, they can register to vote like any other voter by registering online, in-person or by mail. Currently, more than 50,000 Louisianans are disenfranchised due to felony convictions.