• 77°

Legislature approves Sen. Cloud’s election integrity bills

BATON ROUGE – Two measures that Sen. Heather Cloud says will give voters more assurances that Louisiana conducts fair elections received legislative approval and are on the governor’s desk awaiting his signing them into law.

Cloud’s Senate Bill 220 calls for the Legislative Auditor to examine state election policies and practices and file reports on their findings.

“We’re telling our people to go out and vote and that their votes count, but we don’t have anything backing that up,” said Cloud, R-Turkey Creek. “With this, we can say we trust and we verify.”

A yearly close examination of the way elections are conducted and how results are handled provides “checks and balances,” she said. Actual election results would not be included in the audits.

The legislation also calls for retaining election records, including mail-in ballots, for two years in case audits find problems with elections.

“Some records were allowed to be destroyed in six months,” Cloud said. “They would not be eligible for an audit.”

Senate Bill 224 requires additional identification on the detachable flap on absentee and mail-in ballots.

Currently, there is a line for voters to put voluntarily their driver’s license numbers or the last four digits of their Social Security numbers.

“We’re making it mandatory,” Cloud said, which will increase the integrity of absentee ballots cast in early voting and general elections.