Louisiana law already forbids the Secretary of State from participating in elections other than their own. But the party label of the holder of the office also sends a clear partisan message. The officials responsible for conducting our elections should always be independent election watchdogs, independent and above reproach, not partisan politicians.
Like oil and water, partisanship and fair elections just don't mix. The statewide office of Secretary of State should be about the business of making all elections fair regardless of the party of the winning candidate.
The massive infusion of partisan outside PAC money ("dark money" in many cases) over the last few years threaten the integrity of the American election process. Powerful special interests and partisan politicians have no place in the fair conduct of our election process.
This past Tuesday’s election stirred mediocre interest here in the Bayou State. This was the fifth election in Louisiana in 2018. And get ready for six election dates in 2019. There was a 45% turnout last week, even though voters witnessed a great deal of election hype from throughout the nation. Louisianans just were not all that enthused.
Does anybody in Louisiana care there's an election in two weeks? The press does not cover political campaigns like they once did. This is a reflection of the financial cutbacks by newspapers, radio and TV stations across the state. Louisiana’s largest newspaper, The Times Picayune, now only prints three times a week.
Candidates for this nonpartisan office should be able to sell themselves on their ability to show impartiality in making crucial election decisions. This isn't brain surgery or rocket science. Just plain old common sense. Something much lacking in the current hyper partisan political atmosphere.
Let this be a reminder to all elected officials. When you take the oath of office it's not an oath to the political party you belong to. Although some seem to be constantly making that key mistake.
Perhaps if we stop looking at the world through the limited dichotomy of Democrat versus Republican we can find effective solutions to the problems we face in government.
This letter requesting the GOP and Democratic Parties to support legislation for the nonpartisan election of the Secretary of State has been sent to the Chair of the respective parties for their thoughtful consideration.
Patrick Bergeron, Chairman Independent Party of LA and former Chief of Staff, LA Department of Elections & President, EBR Board of Election Supervisors.
513 East State Street #1, BR, LA 70802