by Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire
Retired Louisiana Supreme Court Justice E. Joseph Bleich has made a ruling in the election lawsuit filed by Caddo Parish Louisiana sheriff’s candidate, John Nickelson.
Nickelson, who is White, sued his opponent Henry Whitehorn and the elections board, contesting the results that gave Whitehorn the win. Whitehorn is Black.
The Dec. 5. decision voided the results of a Nov. 18 runoff election. In that election, Henry Whitehorn defeated Nickelson by a single vote. Bleich’s decision means there will be a new runoff election that will take place. Whitehorn appealed that decision that would mandate a new election.
The ruling includes the claim that there was proof, “beyond any doubt that there were at least 11 illegal votes cast and counted” in the election between Whitehorn and Nickelson.
“We keep trying to tell y’all the GOP does not believe in democracy. They are not only “trying” to overturn elections, they are actually doing it. In Louisiana, the election of a parish’s first Black sheriff has been OVERTURNED!!” wrote Cliff Albright on social media regarding the news. Albright is the co-founder of Black Voters Matter. A second runoff is likely to be held in March 2024.
“We are humbled and so grateful that the court ruled in favor of our challenge. The court’s ruling is a victory for election integrity, and we should all be confident that in March the voters of Caddo Parish will make their voices heard definitively on who should be the next sheriff of our parish. I plan to work doubly hard to make sure that every voter knows why our vision for Caddo Parish as a safer, stronger community is worthy of their vote,” Nickelson stated on social media.
Whitehorn also released a statement on the afternoon of December 5.
“Of course, I am disappointed about the court’s decision to overturn the will of the people of Caddo Parish, I was always taught that the person with the most votes wins, even if that’s by a thousand votes or by one vote. I was also taught that when we go to school and get an education, gain experience in our chosen field, and become qualified in what we do, we will have the best opportunity to be successful.
But it seems as though the rules of the game are different depending on who the players are. I won the sheriff’s race, not once but twice. My opponent conveniently chose to question the integrity of the election only after he lost, not once but twice. In elections, you should not be given a redo simply because you are unhappy with the results.”
In 2024, Donald Trump will be running for president for a second time in an attempt to defeat President Biden, who defeated him in 2020 by eight million votes. Trump is openly talking about various ways he would turn American democracy into an authoritarian “strongman” dictatorship if he returns to The White House.
“Because of the constitutional guarantee of secrecy of these ballots, it is impossible to determine the result of this election,” Bleich said in his ruling, adding, “This new runoff election is necessary not only for the candidates but also to ensure the public’s right to untainted election results.”
Election-altering decisions are becoming more common in America.
“Donald Trump is plotting to overthrow American democracy. It is not a secret, and he is not subtle,” wrote election expert and attorney Marc Elias of Democracy Docket. “The only question is whether enough people will care enough to stop it,” he concluded.
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent investigative journalist and the publisher of Black Virginia News.