The filing deadline to run for elected office in Louisiana is on July 24, 2020. In Louisiana, prospective candidates may file for two seats on the Public Service Commission.
Ballotpedia is also covering local elections in the following areas:
• Baton Rouge (Mayor, city council, and other municipal seats)
• New Orleans (District attorney and judicial seats)
Louisiana does not conduct true primary elections. Instead, all candidates running for a local, state, or federal office appear on the same ballot regardless of their partisan affiliations. If a candidate wins a simple majority of all votes cast for the office (i.e., 50 percent, plus one vote), he or she wins the election outright. If no candidate meets that threshold, the top two finishers, regardless of their partisan affiliations, advance to a second election. In that election, the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes wins. The primary is scheduled for November 3, and the general election, if needed, is scheduled for December 5, 2020.
Louisiana’s statewide filing deadline is the last to take place in the 2020 election cycle.
Louisiana has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.
The major-party filing deadline to run for elected office in Louisiana is on July 24, 2020. In Louisiana, prospective candidates may file for the following congressional offices:
• U.S. Senate: Sen. Bill Cassidy (R) has announced that he is running for re-election. Cassidy was first elected in 2014.
• U.S. House of Representatives: All six of Louisiana’s U.S. House seats are up for election. Republicans hold five of the seats, and a Democrat holds the District 2 seat.
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. The primary is scheduled for November 3, and the general election is scheduled for December 5, 2020.
Louisiana’s statewide filing deadline is the 50th and final major-party deadline to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The previous statewide filing deadline was on July 14 in Delaware.
Ballotpedia covered three special elections on July 11 in Louisiana. Offices on the ballot included a state House seat located in the Jefferson and Lafourche parishes and two judicial positions in Baton Rouge.
In state House District 54, six candidates ran to replace Reggie Bagala (R). James Cantrelle (R), Dave Carskadon (R), Kevin Duet (R), Phil Gilligan (R), Donny Lerille (R), and Joseph Orgeron (R) faced off in the election. Orgeron won the election outright with 55% of the vote. Bagala died on April 9 from coronavirus-related health complications. He was first elected to the position in 2019 with 58.2% of the vote.
Baton Rouge held special elections for the Division C seat on the City Court and for the Division M-Section 2 seat on the state’s 19th Judicial District Court. The special primary election was originally scheduled to take place on April 4, with a general to be held May 9, if necessary. The dates were moved amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. A runoff election is scheduled for August 15, 2020.
Greg Cook (D), Donald Dobbins (D), Whitney Greene (R), Jonathan Holloway, Sr. (D), and Johnell Matthews (D) faced off in the special primary election for the vacant City Court seat. Since no candidate received a majority of the vote, Matthews and Greene advanced to a runoff election. Greene received 32% of the vote, and Matthews received 29% of the vote. The special election became necessary when Judge Tarvald Smith vacated the seat after being elected to the 19th Judicial District Court in 2019. The term for the position expires in 2024.
Yvette Alexander (D), Tiffany Foxworth (D), Eboni Johnson-Rose (D), and Jennifer Moisant (D) ran in the special primary election for the Division M-Section 2 seat on the 19th Judicial District Court. Foxworth and Alexander advanced to the runoff election. Foxworth received 37% of the vote, and Alexander received 35% of the vote. The special election became necessary when Judge Beau Higginbotham vacated the seat after being elected to the Division C-Section 3 seat on the 19th Judicial District Court in 2019. The winner will fill a term that expires at the end of 2020. To retain the position, the special election winner will have to run again in the Fall for a full six-year term.
On Saturday, East Baton Rouge Parish voters approved a measure to renew an existing property tax levy to fund the East Baton Rouge Parish Law Enforcement District. Voters approved the measure 52.54% to 47.46%.
The measure renewed the property tax at the rate of $373 per $100,000 of assessed property value until the end of 2030. District officials estimated the special property tax renewal would generate $16.3 million in revenue per year, which amounts to about 17% of the sheriff department’s operating budget.
Voters renewed the tax for 10 years in each of the last three decades.
• In May 2010, 84% of voters approved the tax renewal.
• In October 2000, 65% of voters approved the tax renewal.
Ballotpedia will be covering three special elections on July 11 in Louisiana. Offices on the ballot include a state House seat located in the Jefferson and Lafourche parishes and two judicial positions in Baton Rouge. A general election is scheduled on August 15, 2020, in case no candidate receives a majority of the vote in the special primary election. Early voting for the July 11 election ends at 6 p.m. on July 4.
In state House District 54, six candidates are running to replace Reggie Bagala (R). James Cantrelle (R), Dave Carskadon (R), Kevin Duet (R), Phil Gilligan (R), Donny Lerille (R), and Joseph Orgeron (R) are facing off in the election. Bagala died on April 9 from coronavirus-related health complications. He was first elected to the position in 2019 with 58.2% of the vote.
Baton Rouge is holding special elections for the Division C seat on the City Court and for the Division M-Section 2 seat on the state’s 19th Judicial District Court. The special primary election was originally scheduled to take place on April 4, with a general to be held May 9, if necessary. The dates were moved amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Greg Cook (D), Donald Dobbins (D), Whitney Greene (R), Jonathan Holloway, Sr. (D), and Johnell Matthews (D) will face off in the special primary election for the vacant City Court seat. The special election became necessary when Judge Tarvald Smith vacated the seat after being elected to the 19th Judicial District Court in 2019.
Yvette Alexander (D), Tiffany Foxworth (D), Eboni Johnson-Rose (D), and Jennifer Moisant (D) are running in the special primary election for the Division M-Section 2 seat on the 19th Judicial District Court. The special election became necessary when Judge Beau Higginbotham vacated the seat after being elected to the Division C-Section 3 seat on the 19th Judicial District Court in 2019.
In November 2020, Louisiana voters will decide a constitutional amendment designed to resolve a conflict between Governor John Bel Edwards (D) and State Treasurer John Schroder (R) regarding the state’s unclaimed property revenue. If approved, the amendment would do the following:
• Create the Unclaimed Property (UCP) Permanent Trust Fund, with the fund earmarked for payment of claims made by owners of abandoned property
• Allocate funds above administrative costs received due to the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act of 1997 (or its successor) to the UCP Permanent Trust Fund until equal to the state’s estimated unclaimed property potential liability
• Allocate any additional unclaimed property receipts above the state’s potential liability and any investment revenue from the UCP Permanent Trust Fund to the state’s general fund
• Authorize the treasurer to invest up to 50% of the UCP Permanent Trust Fund in equities
The Uniform Disposition of Property Act was passed in Louisiana in 1972. From 1972 to 2019, the state treasurer collected $1.3 billion in unclaimed property—such as abandoned bank accounts, IRAs, and 401(k) accounts; unclaimed pensions, Social Security benefits; unredeemed U.S. Savings Bonds; and uncollected insurance proceeds and utility deposits. From this, $463 million was remitted according to claims by the owners of the formerly unclaimed property. The remaining revenue was transferred to the state’s general fund, except for a certain amount transferred to the I-49 Leverage fund. In the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years, State Treasurer John Schroder did not transfer $32.5 million in unclaimed property revenue above the amount remitted to claimants to the general fund, saying the money did not belong to the state and should be kept in case its rightful owners come forward.
In February 2020, Gov. Edwards sued Schroder, requesting the court to order the treasurer to transfer the $32.5 million to the general fund. On May 26, 2020, District Court Judge Richard Moore, III, ruled in favor of Gov. Edwards. Schroder said he would appeal the ruling. Edwards and Schroder agreed to a deal, however, that included (a) Schroder releasing the $32.5 million and an estimated $25 million for the following fiscal year and (b) this constitutional amendment to establish a permanent fund for unclaimed property revenue starting in July 2021.
Senator Michael Fesi (R) introduced the constitutional amendment as Senate Bill 12 on June 4, 2020. On June 25, 2020, the state House passed an amended version of Senate Bill 12 in a vote of 95-3, with six absent. On June 26, 2020, the state Senate concurred with the House amendments in a vote of 35-0, with four absent.
This amendment joins six others put on the November 2020 ballot by the Louisiana Legislature during the 2019 and 2020 legislative sessions. From 1995 through 2019, Louisiana voters decided 189 constitutional amendments. During even-numbered years, there were 121 constitutional amendments. An average of 10 measures appeared on even-year statewide ballots, with the total number ranging from four to 21. Louisiana voters approved 75% (141 of 189) and rejected 25% (48 of 189) of constitutional amendments since 1995.
On June 12, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) signed Senate Bill 130 (SB 130) that will ask the voters in each of Louisiana’s 64 parishes whether or not to authorize sports betting within the parish. If a majority of voters in a parish support authorizing sports betting, sports betting would be allowed in the parish after state laws are passed providing for the regulation of such activities.
In Louisiana, a simple majority vote in both chambers of the state legislature is required to refer a statutory measure to the ballot. The governor’s signature is also required to refer the measure. Senator Cameron Henry (R-9) introduced SB 130 on February 25, 2020. The Louisiana State Senate passed the bill in a vote of 29-8 on May 13, 2020. The Louisiana House of Representatives passed the bill on May 17, 2020, in a vote of 71-23 with nine representatives absent.
In 2018, the legislature sent a similar set of parish measures legalizing fantasy sports to the ballot. Forty-seven (47) of the 64 parishes approved the measures, and 17 parishes defeated the measure.
In November 2020, Maryland voters will decide on the Sports Betting Expansion Measure that would authorize sports and events wagering at certain licensed facilities with state revenue intended to fund public education. Voters in Deadwood, South Dakota will also be voting on a measure that would legalize sports betting within the city limits. As of May 2020, 22 states had passed laws legalizing sports betting.
On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Murphy v. NCAA that the federal government could not require states to prohibit sports betting, thereby overturning the federal ban on sports betting (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act or PASPA) and allowing states to legalize sports betting.
The Louisiana State Legislature has also certified six statewide constitutional amendments for the November ballot. The topics of the amendments include abortion, state government finances, taxes, and natural resources.
The new Louisiana state superintendent of education, Dr. Cade Brumley, started with the Department of Education on Monday, June 8. The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education first appointed Brumley to the position on May 20, 2020, and the Louisiana State Senate confirmed his nomination on June 1.
Brumley replaces former superintendent John White, who resigned from the position in March 2020. Beth Scioneaux, the Deputy Superintendent for Management and Finance at the Department of Education, served as interim superintendent from March until June.
The education superintendent position, which is nonpartisan, is one of twelve state-level executive offices that Ballotpedia covers in Louisiana. Of the other nine individual state executive offices, two are nonpartisan, six are held by Republicans, and one–the governor’s office–is occupied by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards. The Republican Party holds a majority on both the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and on the state Public Service Commission.
The Louisiana State Legislature adjourned its 2020 regular session on June 1, 2020, and immediately started a special session to consider the state’s annual budget bill for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
During the 2020 regular session, the state legislature referred five constitutional amendments to the 2020 ballot for voter approval or rejection:
House Bill 267 would allow the Louisiana State Legislature, through a two-thirds vote in each chamber, to use up to one-third of the revenue in the Budget Stabilization Fund to cover the state’s costs associated with a federally-declared disaster.
Senate Bill 272 would authorize a property tax exemption for property that is subject to an agreement with local government and would allow certain property owners to make payments instead of paying property taxes.
House Bill 360 would allow the presence or production of oil or gas to be taken into account when assessing the fair market value of an oil or gas well for ad valorem property tax purposes.
House Bill 464 would change the state’s expenditures limit growth formula.
House Bill 525 would increases the income limit from $50,000 to $100,000 for those who qualify for the special assessment level for residential property receiving the homestead exemption.
The state legislature also passed Senate Bill 130, which would ask the voters in each of Louisiana’s 64 parishes whether to authorize sports betting within the parish. If a majority of voters in the parish support authorizing sports betting, sports betting would be allowed in the parish after state laws are passed providing for the regulation of such activities. Governor John Bel Edwards (D) is expected to sign the bill, which would then place a referendum on the ballot in each parish.
The legislature referred one other constitutional amendment to the November 2020 ballot during the 2019 legislative session. It would add language to the Louisiana Constitution stating that “nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
From 1995 through 2018, 185 constitutional amendments were placed on the ballot by the state legislature. About 10 constitutional amendments were on the ballot in Louisiana during even-numbered years. A total of 139 of the measures (75%) were approved and 46 of the measures (25%) were defeated.
A new state legislative special election has been added to our list. The special election is for the District 54 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives on July 11, 2020. There is no primary, and the filing deadline was on May 22.
A new state legislative special election has been added to our list. The special election is for the District 38 seat in the Washington State Senate on November 3, 2020. The primary is on August 4, and the filing deadline was on May 15.