Statewide turnout for Louisiana’s governor primary was 45% in 2019. However, in 2023 turnout was only 35%. Even though the simple math difference is 10%, the more complex math works out to this being a 22% reduction in turnout. To what should we attribute this decline? I will submit to you that turnout problems were predicted by those in the informed conservative movement. They said that all of the talk of rigged elections only serves to disenfranchise voters.
Is it really all rigged?
Immediately after the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump began referring to other states’ election systems as “rigged.” Since that time, countless experts and pundits have opined on what they thought the problems were. Two divergent efforts emerged. One effort was based on the theory that the whole system is compromised. Thanks to a human flaw commonly known as confirmation bias, every bit of information received on that side was twisted in support of this idea. Another articulation of this concept is often attributed to Julius Caesar. Vis, “People are quick to believe that which they wish to be true.”
From this group came concepts about computer algorithms in voting machines. Another theory brought forward was fractional voting. For example, the favored candidate in a race receives a whole vote when cast, while the disfavored candidate only receives a partial vote. Another idea was some nefarious force was intercepting actual vote totals coming in from the field and changing them as they made their way through the process. We heard about voting machines with malware, closed source software, hacking of voting machines through WiFi, and all kinds of other things you can only imagine. They even created their own solution to all of these problems: hand counting every single ballot.
While these things are all valid as concerns, and should absolutely be looked into, in the last three years nothing has materialized to confirm that any of these hypotheses took place in Louisiana. This is a good place to remind you that in 2020, Trump carried Louisiana with 58%.
The “rigged” group considers themselves to be on the same side as Donald Trump. That was true of the 2020 version of Donald Trump, but much has changed since then including Trump’s own position. Where he once said to wait until election day (leading up to the 2022 midterms), he and the Republican Party are now better informed. They discovered that long lines tend to disenfranchise Republicans most because Republicans traditionally prefer to vote on election day. Because of this, Trump and the Republican Party are now encouraging more Republican voters to participate in early voting.
Were Conservatives just outworked?
The other group of election researchers pursued a more circumspect and open process. They didn’t want to prove the system was rigged. Instead, they sought to genuinely understand what had happened. Was there cheating? Certainly! However, it wasn’t the kind that the first group was trying to prove. Instead, the Democrats ramming through last-minute rules changes caught Republicans flat-footed. COVID was the perfect storm that allowed Democrats to re-shuffle everything in their favor.
The fear manufactured during the COVID era moved many states to overreact. Instead of having in-person voting, the Democrats demanded universal, unsolicited mail-in ballots. The ballot drop box became the next big idea to “slow the spread.” Democrats already had a well-established and well-funded machine that could take advantage of these kinds of changes. That wasn’t an accident.
I’d be remiss here if I didn’t mention that Louisiana’s Secretary of State, Kyle Arodin, and Attorney General, Jeff Landry, fought and won against this effort in court. We didn’t do any of those things here in Louisiana. The best the other side managed was an agreement that if someone requested a mail-in ballot during COVID, it would be honored. That’s a long way from mailing millions of ballots to every single registered voter in Louisiana.
Why I’m involved in all of this
Way back in April of 2021, I did a podcast episode on Voting machines for less than $100 Million. That video eventually turned into a Voting Systems Commission appointment by Jeff Landry. As a commissioner, I do occasionally get asked to present my thoughts on election integrity matters around the state. This isn’t something I’ve been actively promoting, so it’s only been a few presentations here and there. One of them I attempted in Ruston was shouted down by the incredibly aggressive “rigged” crowd. Since then, I’ve been more careful about announcing where I’ll be speaking on the topic. That’s worked better because they’ve apparently been watching our announcements for opportunities to disrupt these meetings.
Election integrity wasn’t always a passion of mine. In fact, it’s still not a primary driving force for what I do. Our main mission (as an organization) is government transparency. The concept is, if everyone really knew what terrible things went on in their government, their government would stop doing them. I took the same approach with our election systems as we do with everything else. Step one is finding out exactly how something works. After that, the solution to any problem usually presents itself.
In the programming world, this method is often referred to as rubber duck debugging. Simply put, if you can explain a problem (to a rubber duck) with enough detail, the solution will become obvious. Sometimes the process benefits by a little feedback, so your “rubber duck” ends up being another person. They might ask you a clarifying question that suddenly reveals the solution. At any rate, it’s easier to fix something when it’s thoroughly comprehended. It’s also a bad idea to tinker with something before understanding how it operates.
These two theories were on the October ballot
For about a month ahead of the election, we knew who the top contenders were in the Secretary of State race. A Trafalgar poll released on September 19th told everyone what many of us were already feeling. The race would go to a runoff between Gwen Collins-Greenup and either Clay Schexnayder (R 1/10) or Nancy Landry (who polled in a very close third place). I didn’t really understand why someone who’s as petty, mean-spirited, and an otherwise terrible candidate as Clay Schexnayder (R 1/10) was even in the running. Election day proved my instincts to be correct. Schexnayder came in a distant fourth behind Greenup, Landry, and Mike Francis, respectively.
Despite only one hiccup, Trafalgar was spot-on with the order of the race.
- Gwen Collins-Greenup
- Nancy Landry (tight 3rd place in Trafalgar)
- Mike Francis (4th in Trafalgar)
- Clay Schexnayder (tight 2nd place in Trafalgar)
- Arthur Morrell
- Thomas Kennedy
- Brandon Trosclair
- Amanda Jennings
The results became evident very early on election night. It was clear that the “rigged” brigade wasn’t even going to place. That’s when the question came. With such a resounding rejection by the voters, what will the “rigged” brigade do now? We didn’t have to wait long to find out.
The “rigged” brigade regroups
In something of a shock, one of the strongest “rigged” proponents said they would support the Soros Democrat (Greenup) over the Republican (Landry) in the Louisiana Secretary of State runoff. This is the same person who was thrown out of the Louisiana Federation of Republican Women (LFRW) for over-the-top antics against Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin. We aluded to this occurrence in our article, Don’t be fooled – Louisiana’s elections aren’t broken. You can find it under the section titled Censorship: there’s no there there.
After being removed from the LFRW for being disruptive, the group derided the LFRW organization for “censoring” them. While lamenting about freedom of speech, the group chose to completely ignore other portions of the First Amendment. Prime among them is the LFRW organization’s constitutionally enshrined right of freedom of association. When they tried to return (uninvited) to the LFRW meetings, law enforcement had to be engaged to keep them out.
Not friends forever
Their next step was to create a parallel organization that supposedly did the same kinds of things as the LFRW, but one in which they were in charge. The organization even met at the same restaurant, Drusilla Seafood. The lion’s share of their meetings focused on, you guessed it, Louisiana’s “rigged” election system.
In addition to LFRW and Secretary of State, Kyle Ardoin, they had originally tried befriending Citizens for a New Louisiana. This group of individuals formed not one, but multiple conservative-looking organizations all with the same mission. The goals weren’t clearly articulated at the beginning. However, over time most of us could see where it was headed. From all appearances, these various groups were simply an anti-Kyle Ardoin movement being coordinated by a handful of abrasive people.
Right here at Citizens for a New Louisiana, we had to change our Telegram Channel format over this foolishness. Previously, it was a wide-open discussion forum. Then, we had to address the “rigged” group’s habit of aggressively spamming other organizations’ channels. Now, ours is mostly a broadcast channel where replies are only visible by clicking to view them. Since making that change and others, all of our primary platforms appear to have been blocked by them (thank goodness).
Louisiana’s New Election System is on your November Ballot
What credibility remains for the Louisiana “rigged” elections movement now that Jeff Landry has won the governor’s race outright in the primary? Even so, if you’re still in the “concerned” category over our election systems, you should know a few things. First, the talking point “our elections aren’t auditable” refers only to voter intent. However, that statement is not entirely accurate at best and intentionally misleading at worst.
The current process to upgrade our election system began way back in 2021 when Sharon Hewitt brought Senate Bill 221 (SB221), which became Act 480. That new law created a roadmap for our next election system, including a voter verified paper trail requirement. The Voting Systems Commission added a recommendation for hand marked paper ballots. So, don’t allow the “rigged” movement to keep you stuck in 2020. The goal has always been to have a new, paper-based system in place by the Presidential Election in 2024, and we’re well on our way. There are regular people out there who knows all of this but have been attacked for expressing it.
Personally, and like many of you, I’m hopeful that the “rigged” crowd and their antics are behind us. However, there’s still an election on for a new Secretary of State. That runoff election puts the entire voting system back on the ballot in November. If you like the idea of continuing toward having paper and auditable voter intent by next year, Nancy Landry will be your candidate. However, if you prefer changing horses midstream and starting this whole process over from scratch, then Gwen Collins-Greenup is your candidate. It’s important that you show up, too. Don’t think some people won’t be voting to cancel our progress and start over. We’ve already mentioned one, but the “rigged” movement probably contains several more.