Sulfur councilman challenges March 26 election results

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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – Sulfur City Councilman Mike Koonce challenged the March 26 election results.

Nick Nezat beat Koonce 169-143 in the race for alderman for District 2 Sulfur – a difference of 26 votes.

However, about 30 Mathews Street voters did not transfer to District 2 after a recent redistricting, Calcasieu Registrar of Voters Kim Fontenot confirmed. Nezat was one of the first to draw attention to the error, posting it on social media on election day.

Additionally, Koonce says in his petition that some voters on Erwin Street were allowed to vote in the election despite not living within the boundaries of District 2.

The motion is due to be heard at 10 a.m. Friday before Judge Kendrick Guidry, Calcasieu Court Clerk Lynn Jones confirmed. It was originally assigned to Judge David Ritchie, who lives in Sulfur, but he recused himself.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin – whose office oversees the elections – and Nezat are both named as defendants in the petition.

Koonce argues the following in his petition:

On information and conviction, confusion and errors in electoral boundaries altered the outcome of the election, particularly with respect to council district boundaries before and after redistricting following the 2020 census.

On information and conviction, those who turned up at the polls on polling day were turned away by commissioners, who informed voters that they could not vote in the election because they did not live in the constituency electoral.

On information and belief, 30 voters on Matthew Street were not included in the constituency registers provided to the commissioners.

According to reports and beliefs, more than one person residing on Erwin Street voted in the election, although the part of Erwin Street where they reside is not included within the boundaries of Council District 2.

The election results show a margin of 26 votes, with the claimant receiving 143 votes and the other candidate receiving 169 votes.

In addition, voters were not notified of the change in electoral district; therefore, some voters could have voted in Council District 2 but did not know they could vote in the election.

Additionally, early voting did not occur each day of the early voting period which was scheduled to begin Saturday, March 12, 2022 and end Saturday, March 19, 2022, which prevented some voters from voting.

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