In a 3-2 decision, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Shreveport, Louisiana, said Tuesday that John Nicholson, the Republican candidate for sheriff in Caddo Parish, had shown that two people voted illegally twice in the Nov. 18 election. and four others voted. They were ineligible to vote.
Additionally, the majority found no error in the lower court judge's ruling that Nicholson could not have known about the problematic votes before Election Day.
Judge Jeff Robinson wrote for the majority, "Considering the one-vote difference between the candidates, the invalidation of these six votes is sufficient to make it legally impossible to determine the outcome of the election."
Democrat Henry Whitehorn, the declared winner of the sheriff's race, had argued that Nicholson had not challenged the votes in time. Whitehorn also argued that Nicholson failed to establish that any of the challenged voters had voted in the sheriff's race.
Whitehorn said he planned to continue the fight in court.
"My opponent has not proven that any of these alleged irregularities caused his defeat," he said in a statement on his campaign's Facebook page.
Whitehorn was declared the winner last month after beating Nicholson by a margin of one vote out of more than 43,000 ballots cast. Recalculation yielded the same result.
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Shonda Stone of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals said the lower court failed to explain why Nicholson could not challenge the votes in the election.
In a separate dissent, Judge Marcus Hunter said there was no evidence that voting irregularities were "so widespread" that it was necessary to overturn the election results. He said Nicholson failed to prove that the outcome of the election would have been different without the irregularities.
"At a time when elections and election integrity are coming under intense bipartisan fire, this Court must be mindful of safeguards, and when necessary, avoid throwing every closely contested election into a pile of controversy that would May such division further fan the flames,” he wrote.
The Caddo Parish sheriff's race is the second local election in the country this year in which a judge has voided the results. Last month, a judge ordered it to be repeated Democratic mayoral primary In connecticutlargest city due to potential ballot stuffing, a case that fueled conspiracy theories Pushed on social media.
The one-vote margin in the Caddo Parish sheriff's race also shed light on Louisiana's recount process. It is the only state that continues to use paperless touchscreen voting machines, which do not produce an auditable paper trail that experts say is critical to ensuring results are accurate.
Election officials, including Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, have reiterated that the state's elections are secure and have checks and balances to ensure voting integrity.
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