Louisiana judicial elections
Judges compete in a primary election against candidates of all parties. If no candidate receives over 50 percent of the vote (a "majority vote"), the top two candidates run against each other in the general election. If a candidate does receive a majority vote in the primary, he or she is declared elected as an unopposed candidate and will not be listed on the general election ballot.
Louisiana's primary elections are held in November, during the general elections of other states.
For two or more open seats
In the event that candidates are competing for more than one open seat on a court, the majority vote is decided by "dividing the total votes cast for all of the candidates by the number of offices to be filled [and] dividing the result so obtained by two," according to the Secretary of State website. The SOS goes on to give the following example:
- 1040 total votes cast ÷ 3 offices to be filled ＝ 346.6
- 346.6 ÷ 2 ＝ 173.3
In the above example, 174 votes are necessary to win for each of the 3 offices.
A general election is won by obtaining the highest number of votes. In the case of races with two or more open seats, the two or more candidates with the highest votes are declared the winners. If there is a tie, an additional election will be scheduled for the third Saturday after the announcement of the election results.
The judges are elected to the following terms, respectively, after which they must seek re-election if they wish to retain the seat:
|Supreme Court||Court of Appeals||District Court||Family Courts||Juvenile Courts||Justice of the Peace Courts|
|Partisan election||Partisan election||Partisan election||Partisan election||Partisan election||Partisan election|
|10 year term||10 year term||6 year term||6 year term||6 year term (8 in Orleans Parish)||4 year term|
Becoming a candidate
|Qualifying Fee||State Central Committee Fee||Signatures|
|Court of Appeal||$450||$225||1000|
|District Court (District)||$300||$150||500|
|District Court (Subdistrict)||$300||$150||½ of 1% of registered voters as of 30 days before end of qualifying|
|Family Court (Baton Rouge), Juvenile Court (Caddo, East Baton Rouge)||$225||$112.50||½ of 1% of registered voters as of 30 days before end of qualifying|
|Juvenile Court (Jefferson), Parish Court||$225||$112.50||400|
|Municipal Court (Except Orleans)||varies*||varies*||varies*|
|Municipal Court (Orleans)||$375||$187.50||1000|
|*The fees and signature requirements for municipal courts vary with population, increasing with the size of the region. For a complete breakdown of municipal court fees and signature requirements, visit the qualifications outlined on the Louisiana Secretary of State website.|
To qualify for an election, a candidate must meet the individual requirements for the office he or she seeks. To view these specific requirements—which pertain to law experience, length of residency and age—visit Judgepedia's Louisiana judicial selection page.
Declaration of candidacy
Candidates must submit a notice of candidacy form to the Louisiana Secretary of State's Office. On this form, the candidate indicates that he or she:
- is a registered voter;
- is not currently under an order of imprisonment for conviction of a felony;
- has filed federal and state income tax returns each of the last five years, or filed an extension (or was not required to do so);
- agrees to the state's campaign finance requirements;
- does not owe any outstanding fines, fees or penalties pursuant to the Code of Governmental Ethics; and
- is knowledgeable of governmental ethics offenses.
Fees and nominating petitions
Candidates are required to either pay a fee (varying by judgeship, as seen in the table at right) or file a nominating petition with a required number of signatures. An additional State Central Committee fee is collected from each Republican and Democratic candidate.
- Louisiana judicial elections, 2014
- Louisiana judicial elections, 2013
- Louisiana judicial elections, 2012
- Louisiana judicial elections, 2011
- Louisiana judicial elections, 2010
- Louisiana Supreme Court elections, 2004-2009
- Louisiana Secretary of State, "How are Candidates Elected?" accessed May 1, 2014
- Louisiana Secretary of State, "Election Results," accessed May 1, 2014
- Louisiana Secretary of State, "Qualifications of Candidates," accessed May 1, 2014
- Louisiana Secretary of State, "Qualify for an Election," accessed May 1, 2014
- Louisiana Secretary of State, "Fees/Nominating Petitions to Qualify for Office," accessed May 1, 2014