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Louisiana Congressional Timing

Published on November 28, 2005, by in General.

On November 28, the paperwork was filed in federal court in Louisiana, to determine whether the state’s new law on congressional timing is contrary to federal law.

In 1997 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Louisiana could not continue holding its congressional elections in September. Louisiana, the only state that uses the “top-two” system, had been holding congressional elections in September. Only in the rare cases when no one got 50% did Louisiana hold a run-off (which was held in November).

A federal law, on the books since 1872, tells the states they must have congressional elections in November. If a state desires the winner to always be someone who got 50%, the states may hold a run-off after the November date. After Louisiana lost the case, it started holding the first round in November. If a run-off was needed, it was in December.

But in 2005, the legislature passed a law reverting to the old illegal September-November system. The only difference between the 2005 law, and the old law that was invalidated, is that the new law says anyone elected in September is “deemed” to have been elected in November. Most neutral observers feel that the U.S. District Court which has jurisdiction of this old case will tell the legislature that the 2005 law is just as illegal as the old law was. The case is now in front of U.S. District Court Judge Frank Polozola. It is called Foster v Love.

One Response

  1. Timm Knibbs

    It is scary that they would resort to this. If they are allowed to keep the new law they could next say anyone elected in Sept 2006 is deemed to have been elected in Nov 2006, Nov 2008 and Nov 2010.

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