BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Early voting for Louisiana’s runoff elections began Friday, with voters deciding on candidates for three vacant statewide offices: attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer.
The governor’s race was decided back in October, when Jeff Landry, a Republican backed by former President Donald Trump, earned more than 50% of the vote and won outright. But other jobs on the ballot will be important, involved with everything from running elections in 2024 to enforcing a strict abortion law.
One closely watched race is for secretary of state.
Whoever is elected will take on the crucial task of replacing Louisiana’s outdated voting machines, which don’t produce the paper ballots critical to ensuring accurate election results. The lengthy and ongoing replacement process was thrust into the national spotlight after allegations of bid-rigging and when conspiracy theorists, who support Trump’s lies that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, inserted themselves into the conversation.
Incumbent Kyle Ardoin is not seeking reelection.
Candidates in the tight race qualified for the runoff in October’s multiparty “jungle” primary, each earning 19% of the vote.
Republican Nancy Landry is a former state representative from Lafayette, and has worked in Ardoin’s office for four years. She’s not related to the governor-elect.
Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup is an attorney from Baton Rouge. She advanced to a runoff against Ardoin in 2019, but lost.
Also on the ballot is the race for attorney general, a position that is currently held by Gov.-elect Jeff Landry. Liz Murrill, his chief deputy, is hoping to replace her boss. The Republican has joined Landry in championing conservative causes, including a lawsuit against President Joe Biden administration for the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors. Her campaign has focused on a tough-on-crime approach.
Democrat Lindsey Cheek is fighting an uphill battle for the position with a pledge to advocate for abortion access. Louisiana currently has a near-total abortion ban.
Landry and Murrill support the current ban.
The treasurer’s race features candidates John Fleming and Dustin Granger. Fleming, a Republican, is a former congressman and was a member of Trump’s administration. Granger, a Democrat, is a financial advisor in Lake Charles.
Early voting runs from Friday to Nov. 11, excluding Sunday and Veteran’s Day, Nov. 10. Registered voters will also cast ballots on 20 runoffs in the legislature local positions, along with four proposed amendments to the State Constitution.
Those who do not participate in early voting can head to the polls on the day of the general election, on Saturday, Nov. 18
More information on the election and where to vote can be found on the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website.