BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Louisiana voters will have to decide who they want to oversee elections and their integrity. The Secretary of State position has two candidates, Gwen Collins-Greenup and Nancy Landry, looking to replace Kyle Ardoin.
Elections across the country have come under scrutiny since 2020 and the Secretary of State’s job is to make sure Louisiana voters are confident in their votes.
Collins-Greenup is an attorney who previously ran against Ardoin five years ago and made it into a runoff.
“I want to restore trust in our secretary of state’s office and our elections process,” Collins-Greenup said.
Nancy Landry, no relation to the governor-elect Jeff Landry, is the first Assistant Secretary of State under Kyle Ardoin and was previously a state representative.
“People in Louisiana can be proud of how we do elections and they can feel confident in the results,” Landry said.
A major task of the next Secretary of State will be to find a new voting system.
“Our voting system is 30 years old. It’s very outdated. And a new system that I’d like to see shared is one that employs the technology we’re used to,” Landry said.
There have been setbacks in the past over allegations of rigging the bidding process and the legislature stepping in to add extra steps in the process for transparency in 2021. Landry believes she is the best for the job because she has been there every step of the way.
“With the new administration, we also think it’ll be a little bit smoother because there won’t be competing interests like there was last time and miscommunications like there was last time,” Landry said. “And so it’s important that we have somebody that knows the process.”
But Collins-Greenup suggests Landry is just more of the same and there needs to be a fresh face to get the process of a new voting machine moving.
“So I believe that we, the secretary of state, needs to be people facing and more engaging with the community and encourage voter participation, be proactive in resolving the voter apathy issue as well as voter confidence,” Collins-Greenup said.
The search for the machines led to several commission meetings where lies about the 2020 election being stolen was given a spotlight in the state. Ardoin and his staff even received threats against them for it. Each candidate feels they are able to assure that vocal group and lawmakers that Louisiana’s elections are safe.
“They’re just looking out for their constituents and trying to address their constituents’ concerns,” Landry said. “So I plan to work closely with them to make sure that their constituents’ concerns are addressed.”
“I will welcome those individuals to come into my office, schedule an appointment, come sit down, have a talk with me,” Collins-Greenup said.
Landry has gained the endorsement of the LAGOP and Governor-elect Landry. Collins-Greenup did not get the Democratic party’s endorsement in the primary – but has it now in the general election. She said that change does not change her campaign at all and is focused on the endorsement of the voters.
Louisiana saw a near-record low voter turnout in the October primary election. With the presidential race just a year away, the newly elected Secretary of State will have to work to drum up more participation.
“The Secretary of State’s position is the one position that is supposed to be nonpartisan, and I will definitely keep it that way because that is a position that is overseeing the voting process for independent, Republican and Democrat candidates,” Collins-Greenup said.
They also have to change the tide on trust in the election process so voters will need a Secretary of State they trust to lead the way.
“I’m still the only candidate who has the experience needed to go right into the 2024 presidential election without needing on-the-job training,” Landry said.
Election Day is Nov. 18.