Election officials reaffirmed former federal prosecutor Brad Myers as the winner of a special election for a spot on the bench of the 19th Judicial District Court on Thursday, finding in a recount that he beat attorney Jordan Faircloth by two votes .
Following the confirmation of votes collected on electronic machines, canvassers reviewed 3,709 absentee and absentee ballots in just under two hours and declared Myers the winner.
“I’m touched by the support I’ve received,” Myers said. “I was confident that the outcome would be the same, and the reason for that is that our Clerk of the Court, our Board of Election Commissioners and our Registrar of Electors are first class officials, and I had no doubt that what they did on Saturday was the right thing and was going to stand.”
The recount, however, might not be the final word. Faircloth said it was considering further action to force the review of 146 mail-in ballots that were rejected on Election Day due to errors on the ballot envelope.
“We’ve argued that we want every vote that should be counted to be counted,” Faircloth said. “Obviously the ones that were looked at today were okay, but the ones that are left, the 146, that’s what we’ll be thinking about the next day or so.”
Rejected ballots were not counted in the recount because Louisiana election law requires that only accepted ballots be recounted, Registrar of Electors Steve Raborn said.
The ballots were rejected for errors on the flap of the envelope returned by the voter, Raborn said. It could be anything from a missing signature, which is required, or other personal information that was not filled in by the voter on the flap of the envelope, Raborn said.
The parish board of election supervisors, along with certified election commissioners who were brought in and paid for the process, manually counted the ballots.
The remaining 6,448 electronic ballots cast at voting machines were verified Tuesday by the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk’s Office, office spokesman Fred Sliman said. This process is required by state law for all elections, regardless of a recount, Sliman said.
Faircloth asked East Baton Rouge Parish election officials to conduct the recount after losing Saturday’s runoff election by just two votes. Faircloth paid $1,600 for the recount, an amount that would have been refunded if the election result changed, Sliman said.
Myers held a 6,073-vote lead over Faircloth’s 6,071 votes after Saturday night’s runoff, according to unofficial results from the Louisiana secretary of state’s office. These numbers remained unchanged after the recount verified the results.
“It makes me feel good that we are able to verify the accuracy of our tally from Election Day,” Raborn said. “We work very hard to get it right the first time, so we’re always happy when we verify this process right.”
Myers and Faircloth are Republicans who ran to replace retired Judge William Morvant, a Republican who served on the Baton Rouge state court from 1997 until late last year.
Myers is set to serve the remainder of Morvant’s E Division unexpired term, which does not expire until the end of 2026. E Division headquarters includes southern Baton Rouge and southeast East Baton Rouge Parish.
Candidates “rarely” ask for ballots to be recounted, Sliman said. That last happened in East Baton Rouge in 2019, when Franklin Foil defeated Steve Carter for a state Senate seat. Early results showed the men tied, but a recount showed Foil winning by four votes. The previous time was in 2014.
“When the votes are so close, it removes all doubt,” Raborn said. “Mr Faircloth had every right to ask for a recount – it’s really part of the electoral process, especially in such a tight race.”