Senate votes to require regular audit of Louisiana elections


Sen. Heather Cloud, R-Turkey Creek, and Sen. Body White, R-Central, talk during opening day of the Louisiana legislative session in Baton Rouge, La., Monday, April 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana Senate voted Monday to require regular audits of the state’s elections by the legislative auditor, a measure pushed by Republicans who said they wanted to ensure people have confidence in election results.

The proposal by Sen. Heather Cloud, a Turkey Creek Republican, was sent to the House with a 27-10 vote. All Republicans present for the vote backed the bill. All Democrats — except Norco Sen. Gary Smith — voted against it.

Democrats questioned the need for the proposal, saying there have been no widespread problems reported or alleged with Louisiana’s elections. Republicans said they weren’t suggesting Louisiana’s elections were rife with fraud, but argued the bill would reinforce faith in election processes.

“We want to believe and trust that our elections are good, but we want to verify,” Cloud said.

Sen. Jay Luneau, an Alexandria Democrat, said repeated and frequent audits would be an unnecessary expense. He noted other agencies are audited on a schedule, with a review every few years.

“Do we really need to do this if we haven’t found any problems?” Luneau said.

The bill would give the auditor the ability to determine the scope of the review, saying it could include an “overview of the election processes and controls, election best practices, fraud prevention, ballot security and signature matching.”

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