Election officials reaffirmed former federal prosecutor Brad Myers as the winner of a special election for a spot on the 19th Judicial District Court bench Thursday, finding in a recount that he defeated lawyer Jordan Faircloth by two votes.

Following the confirmation of votes collected on electronic machines, canvassers reviewed 3,709 mail and absentee ballots in just under two hours and declared Myers the winner.  

"I'm humbled by the support I've received," Myers said. "I was confident the result would be the same, and the reason is our clerk of court, our Board of Election Commissioners and our registrar of voters are top notch public servants, and I had no doubt that what they did on Saturday was the right thing and was going to be upheld."

The recount, though, might not be the final word. Faircloth said he is considering further action to force the review of 146 absentee ballots that were rejected on Election Day for errors on the ballot envelope. 

"We've maintained that we want every vote that should be counted, counted," Faircloth said. "Clearly those that were reviewed today were correct, but those remaining, the 146, is what we're going to be thinking about over the next day or so."

The rejected ballots were not counted during the recount because Louisiana election law requires that only accepted ballots are recounted, Registrar of Voters Steve Raborn said.

The ballots were rejected for errors on the flap of the envelope returned by the voter, Raborn said. That could be anything from a missing signature, which is required, or other personal information that wasn't filled out by the voter on the envelope flap, Raborn said. 

The Parish Board of Election Supervisors, along with certified election commissioners who were brought and paid in for the process, hand counted the ballots.

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The remaining 6,448 electronic ballots cast on voting machines were verified as being accurate by the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court's Office on Tuesday, office spokesman Fred Sliman said. That process is required under state law for all elections, regardless of a recount, Sliman said. 

Faircloth asked East Baton Rouge Parish voting 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 outcome of the election changed, Sliman said. 

Myers held a lead of 6,073 votes to Faircloth's 6,071 votes after Saturday night's runoff, according to unofficial results from the Louisiana Secretary of State's Office. Those numbers remained unchanged after the recount verified the results.

"It makes me feel good that we're able to verify the accuracy of our count from Election Day," Raborn said. "We work very hard to do it right the first time, so we're always glad when the verification of that process comes out correct."

Myers and Faircloth are Republicans who competed to replace retired Judge William Morvant, a Republican who served on the Baton Rouge state court from 1997 until the end of last year.

Myers is set to serve the remainder of Morvant's unexpired Division E term, which doesn't end until the close of 2026. The Division E seat includes south Baton Rouge and southeast East Baton Rouge Parish.

Candidates "infrequently" ask that ballots be re-tallied, Sliman said. It last occurred in East Baton Rouge in 2019, when Franklin Foil defeated Steve Carter for a state Senate seat. Initial results showed the men tied, but a recount showed that Foil won by four votes. The time before that occurred in 2014.

"When the votes are this close, it removes all doubt," Raborn said. "Mr. Faircloth had every right to request a recount — it really is part of the election process, especially in a race this close."