Louisiana Recount Laws

This information was updated Oct. 16, 2018. 

Voting System Used: 

DREs without VVPAT

For more details, visit Verified Voting.

Note that Louisiana is currently in the process of acquiring new voting equipment that will have a paper record of votes.  

Counting Method : 

Mix of hand count, retabulation and electronic review

The statutes only allow recounts for absentee by mail and early voting ballots.  The absentee by mail ballots will be counted by hand or scanning equipment, and the DRE early voting ballots will be counted electronically, unless paper ballots were used for early voting and in such case, the ballots shall be recounted by hand.  See the Louisiana Revised Statutes (LA Rev. Stat.) 18:1313(J)(2)(a)(i) and (ii).

Louisiana uses DREs without VVPATs for its election day, polling place voting equipment.  Candidates or their representatives may submit a written request to reopen DREs for a “reinspection” (an electronic review) of the election returns.  LA Rev. Stat. 18:573(A)(3).

Initiating Mechanisms: 

Candidate-initiated
Voter-initiated

Candidate-Initiated Options : 

Close-vote margin required​
Specific ballot category
Contested election​

If the number of absentee by mail and early voting ballots cast for all candidates for an office could make
a difference in the outcome of the election for such office, a candidate may file a written request for a
recount. LA Rev. Stat. 18:1313(J)(2)(a)(i).

Candidates may file a written request for a “reinspection” (an electronic review) of the polling place DRE
results. LA Rev. Stat. 18:573(A)(3).

Candidates may also seek a recount as part of an election contest in the courts.  "Prior to the trail of an election contest, a party to the suit by ex parte motion may seek a recount of the absentee by mail and early voting ballots if he alleges that there is an error in the the counting of the absentee by mail and early voting ballots which would have changed the outcome of the election."  LA Rev. Stat. 18:1451.

Timing: LA Rev. Stat. 18:1313(J)(2)(b), 18:573(A)(3) and 18:1453(A).

Voter-Initiated Options: 

Close vote margin required (specific ballot category)
Voters may request recounts for initiatives/questions

If the number of absentee by mail and early voting ballots cast for and against a ballot measure could
make a difference in the outcome of the election, a person who voted in the ballot measure election may
file a written request for a recount. LA Rev. Stat. 18:1313(J)(2)(a)(ii).

Timing: LA Rev. Stat. 18:1313(J)(2)(b).

Cost for Candidate-Initiated Recounts: 

Paid entirely by initiator
Payer of costs depends on outcome of recount

The candidate requesting the recount shall be responsible for all reasonable costs associated with the
recount. If the recount changes the outcome of the election, the costs paid by the candidate shall be
refunded. LA Rev. Stat. 18:1313(J)(d)(i) and (ii). See also the Election Expense Manual, pp. 11-13.

For recounts conducted prior to the trial of an election contest, “if the court determines that the original
count of the absentee by mail and early voting ballots was correct or that the error would not have
changed the result of the election, the cost of recounting shall be assessed against the party who
demanded the recount. If the court determines that an error was made in the original count of the
absentee by mail and early voting ballots that changed the result of the election, the cost of recounting
the absentee by mail and early voting ballots shall not be assessed against any party.” LA Rev. Stat.18:1452.

For reinspections of DREs, the “candidate requesting the reinspection shall be responsible for all
reasonable costs associated with such reinspection….” LA Rev. Stat. 18:573(A)(3).

Cost for Voter-Initiated Recounts: 

Paid entirely by initiator
Payer of costs depends on outcome of recount

In a ballot measure election, the voter requesting the recount shall be responsible for all reasonable costs
associated with the recount. If the recount changes the outcome of the election, the costs paid by the
voter will be refunded. LA Rev. Stat. 18:1313(J)(2)(d)(i) and (2)(d)(ii). See also the Election Expense
Manual
, pp. 11-13.

For recounts conducted prior to the trial of an election contest, “if the court determines that the original
count of the absentee by mail and early voting ballots was correct or that the error would not have
changed the result of the election, the cost of recounting shall be assessed against the party who
demanded the recount. If the court determines that an error was made in the original count of the
absentee by mail and early voting ballots that changed the result of the election, the cost of recounting
the absentee by mail and early voting ballots shall not be assessed against any party.” LA Rev. Stat. 18:1452.

Challengers and Observers : 

Party/candidate or initiator has statutory authority to appoint observers
No statutory guidance for recount challengers

Although the statutes do not specify that recounts must be public, in practice, recounts and reinspections
are open to the public. See the Parish Board Of Election Supervisor’s Handbook, Section 4.2: "Statutory
Public Meetings Open to the General Public,” pp 3-4.

For recounts conducted prior to the trial of an election contest, “[t]he trial judge shall give notice of the
time and place of the recount to all interested parties. The parties, or their representatives, may be
present at the recount, but the recount shall not be an adversary proceeding.” LA Rev. Stat. 18:1453(B).

Rules for Determining Voter Intent: 

No statutory guidance provided

State Has Audit Laws: 
No
Revision Notes: 

This information was updated October 16, 2018 using Title 18 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes current through the 2017 Second Extraordinary Session.