Louisiana voters to decide special elections for appeals, BESE, state leg races

Louisiana is holding special general elections on April 24. The general elections became necessary after no candidates received a majority of the votes in the primary election on March 20. Louisiana elections use the majority-vote system. All candidates compete in the same primary, and a candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate does, the top two vote recipients from the primary advance to the general election, regardless of their partisan affiliation.

On the ballot at the state level are special elections for Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) District 4, Louisiana Second Circuit Courts of Appeal District 1, and Louisiana House of Representatives District 82. Ballotpedia is also covering a special election for Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District.

The BESE special election was called after Tony Davis (R) left office to devote more time to his job as a senior director at the National Association of Manufacturers on Jan. 20. Davis served from 2016 to 2021. Cassie Williams (D) and Michael Melerine (R) are running in the special election.

Louisiana Second Circuit Courts of Appeal District 1 became vacant on Oct. 1, when Judge Felicia Toney Williams (D) retired. Williams served on the court from 1993 to 2020. Marcus Hunter (D) and J. Garland Smith (D) will face off in the special election.

The Louisiana House of Representatives District 82 seat became vacant on Jan. 12, when Charles Henry (R) resigned. Henry served from 2020 to 2021. Edwin Connick (R) and Laurie Schlegel (R) are running in the special election.

Louisiana has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. The governor is a member of the Democratic Party and both chambers in the Louisiana State Legislature have Republican majorities.

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