By Victor Skinner | The Center Square contributor
A new study of election integrity measures in all 50 states and the District of Columbia ranks Louisiana in a tie with Wisconsin for 9th place.
The Heritage Foundation’s Election Integrity Scorecard compares election laws and regulations in each state and the District of Columbia that affect the security and integrity of the process with best practices, and ranks states based on a 100-point scale.
“Americans need and deserve a transparent system in which fraud can be easily detected and false allegations of fraud can be easily dispelled,” according to the study. “Americans need and deserve a system in which it is easy to vote and hard to cheat.”
The analysis considers best practices and assigns points based on the status of state laws and regulations regarding voter identification, accuracy of voter registration lists, absentee ballot management, vote harvesting, access of election observers, verification of citizenship, identification for voter assistance, vote counting practices, election litigation procedures, and restrictions on same day registrations, automatic registrations and private funding for elections.
Louisiana received an overall score of 75, the ninth-best state in the nation, ranking below neighboring Arkansas in sixth, and Texas in eighth, but ahead of Mississippi, ranked 23rd.
Louisiana received 13 out of 20 points for voter ID implementation, 22 out of 30 points for accuracy of voter registration lists, and 19 out of 21 points for absentee ballot management. The state lost two points for verification of citizenship, one point for identification for voter assistance, two points for election litigation procedures and three points for restricting private funding of elections.
Tennessee topped the Heritage Foundation’s Election Integrity Scorecard with a score of 84, followed by Georgia with an 83, Alabama at 82, Missouri with 80 points, and South Carolina at 79.
Hawaii ranked 51st with 26 points, below Nevada at 28, California with 30 points, Oregon at 38 and Vermont at 39.
The Heritage Foundation pointed to its Election Fraud Database as evidence of why election integrity is critically important, particularly in local and state elections where the margin of victory is small.
The database, which “presents a sampling of recent proven instances of election fraud from across the country,” lists seven criminal convictions for election crimes in Louisiana since 2002, including three since 2020.
Four of the cases – one in 2002, one in 2015, and two in 2022 – involved buying votes, while others included illegal “assistance” at the polls and false registrations.
The most recent cases in 2022 included the federal conviction of former Amite City police chief Jerry Trabona, who conspired with Amite Councilmember Kristian Hart to buy votes in 2016 open primary and general elections.
Other studies have put the issue in a broader context.
A 2020 report on voter rolls by the Pacific Interest Legal Foundation found 8,360 individuals registered and voted in two different states during the 2018 election, and votes were recorded for 7,890 deceased individuals in 2016 and 6,718 in 2018. Another 43,760 individuals were registered more than once at the same address and voted twice in the 2016 election, while that figure was 37,889 in 2018.
The PILF data also showed 34,000 individuals voted in the 2018 election by registering at nonresidential, commercial addresses, such as gas stations, casinos and restaurants.