LAFAYETTE — Two candidates who lost to incumbent 16th Judicial District Judge Lori Landry on Nov. 4 will be in court Monday seeking a new election.
Carolyn Deal and Alisia Johnson Butler both filed petitions Thursday contesting Landry’s victory last week in a minority voting district in portions of Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary parishes.
Butler alleged voters in several precincts received incorrect ballots that did not include the correct judge’s race, while voters in other precincts were allowed to vote in the judge’s race even though they do not live within the minority district.
Butler said in court filings that “substantial and serious irregularities occurred which make the true results of that election impossible to determine.”
The issue came to light after several Butler supporters complained of not being able to vote for their chosen candidate, said Butler’s attorney, Ike Spears.
He said another indication of a problem was the disparity in voting totals when comparing Nov. 4 turnout with the 2008 race for the same seat — 7,292 votes in 2008 compared with 11,545 votes in 2014.
“That was a huge difference and no real explanation for that,” Spears said.
The Secretary of State’s office, which oversees elections, declined comment through spokeswoman Meg Casper, citing a policy of not discussing ongoing litigation.
Deal’s petition alleges her chances at the polls were unfairly hurt by publicity and confusion over an attempt by the 16th Judicial District Attorney’s office to keep her off the ballot.
The District Attorney’s Office filed a petition to block Deal from running for judge on Nov. 4, citing records that show she didn’t meet the minimum qualification of having practiced law in the state for at least eight years.
The legal issue was not resolved before the election, and the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal ruled the issue moot on Nov. 5 because Deal ran and lost the election.