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Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Louisiana

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This page contains extensive information about ballot access requirements for state and federal candidates running for elected office in the state of Louisiana. Offices included are:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in Louisiana. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

Louisiana utilizes a blanket primary system, adopted in 1975, in which there is a single primary for all candidates. If no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote, then the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to a runoff election. Louisiana typically holds its elections on non-regular dates. State executive and legislative elections are held in odd-numbered years, with election dates typically falling on Saturdays. In June 2010, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) signed HB 292 into law, returning congressional elections to the nonpartisan blanket system in 2012.[1][2][3]

Year-specific dates


See also: Louisiana elections, 2015

Louisiana will conduct a primary election on October 24, 2015. A runoff election will be held, if necessary, on November 21, 2015. Voters will elect candidates to serve in the following offices:

The table below lists important election-related dates for 2015.[4][5]

Legend:      Ballot access     Campaign finance     Election date

Dates and requirements for candidates in 2015
Deadline Event type Event Description
April 27, 2015 Campaign finance 180-Day Pre-Primary Report due
July 27, 2015 Campaign finance 90-Day Pre-Primary Report due
September 8, 2015 Ballot access Qualifying period begins
September 10, 2015 Election date Qualifying period ends
September 24, 2015 Campaign finance 30-Day Pre-Primary Report due
October 14, 2015 Campaign finance 10-Day Pre-Primary Report due
October 24, 2015 Election date Primary election
November 3, 2015 Campaign finance Election Day Expenditures Report due
November 12, 2015 Campaign finance 10-Day Pre-General Report due
November 21, 2015 Election date Runoff election (if necessary)
December 1, 2015 Campaign finance Election Day Expenditures Report due
January 4, 2016 Campaign finance 40-Day Post-Primary Report due
February 15, 2016 Campaign finance Supplemental and Annual Reports due (if in general/runoff election)
February 16, 2016 Campaign finance Supplemental and Annual Reports due (if not in general/runoff election)


Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of February 2015, Louisiana officially recognized five political parties. These are listed in the table below.[10][11]

Party Website link By-laws/platform link
Democratic Party by-laws
Green Party by-laws
Libertarian Party platform
Reform Party principles
Republican Party platform (timed out)

In some states, a candidate may choose to have a label other than that of an officially recognized party appear alongside his or her name on the ballot. Such labels are called political party designations. A political party designation would be used when a candidate qualifies as an independent, but prefers to use a different label. Louisiana does not allow candidates to identify in this way. A total of 25 states allow candidates to use political party designations in non-presidential elections.

The 11 states listed below (and Washington, D.C.) do not provide a process for political organizations to gain qualified status in advance of an election. Instead, in these states, an aspirant party must first field candidates using party designations. If the candidate or candidates win the requisite votes, the organization may then be recognized as an official political party. In these states, a political party can be formed only if the candidate in the general election obtains a specific number of votes. The number of votes required and type of race vary from state to state. Details can be found on the state-specific requirements pages.[12]

Process to establish a political party

Figure 1: This is the Political Party Registration Statement for the state of Louisiana.

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 18, Section 441 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes

Gaining ballot access

In Louisiana, a new party will be recognized when the following three things occur:[10]

  1. At least 1,000 registered voters affiliate with the party on their voter registration form.
  2. The party files a notarized registration statement with the Louisiana Secretary of State.
  3. The party pays a $1,000 registration fee to the secretary of state's office.

The registration statement must be sworn to by an officer of the party, notarized and include the following information:[8]

  1. The name of the party, which cannot be deceptively similar to the name of any already recognized political party.
  2. The mailing address of the party, which must be within the state of Louisiana.
  3. If the party is affiliated with a national party, the name of that party and the address of its national headquarters.
  4. The names, addresses and official titles of the party's state officers.
  5. A copy of the party's emblem, if applicable, which cannot be deceptively similar to the emblem of any already recognized political party.
  6. Copies of the party's charter or constitution, its governing bylaws, rules and regulations.

In order to be recognized in time to run candidates in an election, the party will have to file and pay the registration fee no later than 90 days before the candidate qualifying period.[8]

A newly recognized political party will not be given a seat on the Parish Board of Election Supervisors, which is a board in each parish in charge of overseeing and supervising election proceedings, until at least 5 percent of registered voters in the state are affiliated with the party on their voter registration forms. Newly recognized political parties also cannot collect party fees from their candidates.[10][13]

Maintaining ballot access

In order to maintain their ballot access, newly recognized parties must continue to put candidates on the ballot. If no registered member of the party qualifies as a candidate for four consecutive years, the party will cease to be recognized.[10][8]

However, if a candidate of the newly recognized party for president receives at least 5 percent of the votes cast in a presidential election, or if a candidate of the party for any statewide office receives at least 5 percent of the votes cast for that office in a primary or general election, the four-year rule will no longer apply. That means that if the party's candidate in a presidential or statewide race receives at least 5 percent of the votes cast, the party will never have to re-qualify with the state. For example, 1,994,065 votes were cast for president in 2012. In order for a newly recognized party to maintain its status without fielding candidates every four years, its candidate for president would have had to receive at least 99,703 votes.[8][14]

Convention requirements

Members of a recognized political party's state central committee are elected every four years, during presidential election years. Within 40 days following their election, the newly elected members of the state central committee must meet at the state capitol, take office, and hold a meeting to organize the committee. At that first meeting, members of the committee must elect the officers provided for in the rules and regulations of the party.[15]

Process to become a candidate

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 18: Louisiana Election Code of the Louisiana Revised Statutes

Qualifying for the primary ballot

Because Louisiana utilizes a blanket primary system, all candidates run in the primary election. A candidate cannot run for more than one office in a primary or general election, unless one of the offices is for membership in a political party committee. A candidate is also prohibited from running for two or more different offices to be filled at separate elections.[16]

All candidates qualify in the same way and at the same time. If the primary election is for a gubernatorial election, the candidate qualifying period begins the first Tuesday after the first Monday in September of the year of the election and ends at 4:30 p.m. on the following Thursday. If the primary election is for a congressional election, the candidate qualifying period begins the third Wednesday in August of the year of the election and ends at 4:30 p.m. on the following Friday.[17][18]

To qualify, a candidate must file with the Louisiana Secretary of State. The candidate must file a Notice of Candidacy form and either pay a filing fee or file a nominating petition. After qualifying, a candidate for state executive office or state legislative office is required to obtain at least one hour of ethics education and training.[19][20][21][22]

Notice of Candidacy

The Notice of Candidacy form must be signed either in the presence of a notary or of registered voters eligible to vote for the office the candidate seeks. The form must certify the following:[20][23]

  • the candidate's name and the way in which he or she would like it to appear on the ballot
  • the office sought by the candidate
  • the candidate's residential address, including the parish, ward and precinct where the candidate is registered to vote
  • the name of the recognized party the candidate is affiliated with, a designation of "other" if the candidate is affiliated with a non-recognized political party or a designation of "no party" if the candidate is not affiliated with any political party; this designation cannot change after the Notice of Candidacy is filed
  • that the candidate is a registered voter in the district he or she wishes to represent
  • that the candidate is not currently under an order of imprisonment for conviction of a felony and is not prohibited from qualifying as a candidate for conviction of a felony
  • if running for state office, that the candidate has filed his or her state and federal tax returns for the past five years or else was not required to file
  • if running for state office, that the candidate acknowledges he or she is subject to the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act, does not owe any outstanding fines, fees or penalties and has filed any reports due prior to filing the Notice of Candidacy form
  • that the candidate is knowledgeable of all election rules and laws pertaining to the election in which he or she is running, specifically those prohibiting political campaign signs on public property.

Filing fee

If a candidate decides to pay the filing fee, it must be paid in cash, by certified check, by cashier's check or by money order. Established political parties may assess a political party fee to be paid by candidates affiliated with their parties. All fees must be paid to the Louisiana Secretary of State at the time of qualifying. Candidates currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces are not required to pay the filing fee.[21][24]

Fees vary according to the office sought and are detailed in the table below.[25]

Office sought Filing fee Party fee (if a Democratic or Republican candidate)
Governor $700.00 $375.00
State executive office other than governor, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative $600.00 $300.00
State Senator $300.00 $150.00
State Representative $225.00 $112.50

Nominating petition

If a candidate decides to file a nominating petition rather than pay a filing fee, he or she may start circulating petitions 120 days before the qualifying period begins. Signatures for the petition must be collected from registered voters eligible to vote for the office the candidate seeks. Signature requirements vary according to the office sought and are detailed in the table below.[25][26]

Office sought Number of signatures required
State executive office or office in the U.S. Senate 5,000, with no less than 500 coming from each congressional district
Office in the U.S. House of Representatives 1,000
Office in the Louisiana State Senate 500
Office in the Louisiana House of Representatives 400

Challenging a candidacy

Any registered voter may challenge the candidacy of a candidate running for an office for which the challenger is an eligible elector. To do so, the registered voter must present evidence that a candidate has illegally qualified for office to the respective parish district attorney. The district attorney will then determine whether or not the evidence presented by the registered voter establishes grounds for challenging the candidate's qualified status. If the district attorney determines the evidence does establish grounds against the candidate, the district attorney must file an action objecting to that candidate.[27]

Any objection to a candidate must be filed no later than seven days after the close of the candidate qualifying period, unless that day falls on a weekend or holiday, in which case the objection must be filed by the next business day.[28]

Moving on to the general election

A general election is only held if a candidate fails to receive 50 percent of the vote cast for the office in the primary. If a general election is held, the two candidates who received the most votes move on to the general election. In the event of a tie, the number of candidates allowed to move on for that office is doubled.[29][30]

Petition requirements

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Title 18, Section 441 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes

In some cases, political parties and/or candidates may need to obtain signatures via the petition process to gain ballot access. This section outlines the laws and regulations pertaining to petitions and circulators in Louisiana.

Format requirements

Petitions in Louisiana are used by candidates who do not wish to pay the filing fee when qualifying to run for office. The Louisiana Secretary of State prepares and furnishes copies of forms that candidates may use as their nominating petitions. However, candidates may also use forms of their own design to collect signatures, as long as each sheet of the nominating petition contains the following information:[31]

  • The name of the candidate seeking election
  • The candidate's residence address
  • The office sought by the candidate
  • The candidate's political party affiliation, if any
  • The date of the primary election for which the candidate seeks to qualify

Signature requirements

When signing a nominating petition, signers must provide their name in printed form, the date they signed the petition and their residence address, including the ward and precinct in which they are eligible to vote. Once a signer has signed a nominating petition, the signature may not be withdrawn.[31]

Circulation requirements

Circulators of petitions must witness the signing of every signature on the petition. When filing the nominating petition, the candidate and all circulators who collected signatures on his or her behalf must certify on the nominating petition that to the best of their knowledge, information and belief, all signatures on the petition are genuine and all statements on the petition are true and correct.[31]

The statutes do not specify any requirements for circulators of nominating petitions.

Campaign finance

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Louisiana Campaign Finance Disclosure Act

Reporting requirements

A candidate running for state executive office or district office must electronically file reports with the Louisiana Ethics Administration Program. A candidate for any other office must file reports only if he or she spends over $2,500 or collects contributions of over $200 from a single source, not including the candidate’s personal funds.[9]

Contribution limits

In addition to campaign finance reporting requirements, candidates are subject to contribution limits received from a single source, excluding personal funds and political parties. The limits apply separately to the primary and general elections and are as follows:[9]

  • $5,000 for candidates seeking state executive office or a district office representing a population of more than 250,000
  • $2,500 for candidates seeking a district office with a population less than 250,000
  • $1,000 for candidates seeking any other office

If a candidate receives contributions from a political action committee (PAC) with over 250 members who contributed over $50 to the PAC in the preceding election year, then the above contribution limits may be doubled from that PAC.[9]

Contributions from persons who are substantially interested in the riverboat and land casino gaming industry are prohibited.[9]

Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office will require some form of interaction with the following agencies:

Secretary of State:

Why: This agency oversees candidate filing and election procedures.
Physical address: 8585 Archives Ave., Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Mailing address: P.O. Box 94125, Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9125
Telephone: 225-922-0900
Toll-free: 800-883-2805
Fax: 225-922-0945

Louisiana Ethics Administration Program:

Why: This agency oversees campaign finance registration and reporting requirements.
Physical address: 617 North Third Street, LaSalle Building, Suite 10-36, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Mailing address: P.O. Box 4368, Baton Rouge , LA 70821
Telephone: 225-219-5600
Toll-free: 800-842-6630
Fax: 225-381-7271


See also: Parishes in Louisiana

A candidate must qualify with the parish clerk in his or her home county. Individual parish contact information can be found below. To provide a link or information for the table below, please email us.

Term limits

Louisiana state executives and legislators are term limited. These limits are established by Article IV, Section 3 of the Louisiana Constitution and Amendment 2, which was passed by voters in 1995.

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits

The state executive term limits in Louisiana are as follows:[32]

  • The governor may serve only two consecutive terms.

There were no state executive offices affected by term limits in 2014.

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

Members of the Louisiana State Legislature may serve no more than three consecutive terms.[33]


See also: Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2014 and Impact of term limits on state representative elections in 2014

As there were no seats in the Louisiana State Legislature open for election in 2014, none were affected by term limits.


See also: Louisiana State Senate elections, 2011 and Louisiana House of Representatives elections, 2011

A total of 16 state legislators were termed out in 2011.

Congressional partisanship

See also: List of United States Representatives from Louisiana and List of United States Senators from Louisiana

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from Louisiana:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from Louisiana
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 0 1 1
     Republican Party 2 5 7
TOTALS as of March 2015 2 6 8

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of Louisiana:

State Senate

Party As of March 2015
     Democratic Party 13
     Republican Party 26
Total 39

State House

Party As of March 2015
     Democratic Party 44
     Republican Party 58
     Independent 2
     Vacancy 1
Total 105

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Louisiana + ballot + access"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Louisiana ballot access news feed

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See also

External links

Official state and federal links


Other information


  1. The Times-Picayune,, "Gov. Bobby Jindal signs law returning congressional races to open primaries in 2012," June 29, 2010
  2. Louisiana State Legislature, "Act. 570" (2010), accessed November 26, 2013
  3. Slate,, "Why Does Louisiana Have Such an Odd Election System?," November 13, 2002
  4. Louisiana Secretary of State, "2015 Elections," accessed February 11, 2015
  5. Louisiana Ethics Administration Program, "Schedule of Reporting and Filing Dates, 2015," accessed February 11, 2015
  6. Louisiana Secretary of State Website, "How Are Candidates Elected?" accessed November 12, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 Louisiana Secretary of State, "2014 Elections," accessed November 12, 2013
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Louisiana Revised Statutes, "Title 18, Section 441," accessed November 12, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Supervisory Committee on Campaign Finance Disclosure, "Schedule of Reporting and Filing Dates for Candidates and PACs Supporting or Opposing Candidates," Updated April 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Louisiana Secretary of State, "Louisiana Political Parties," accessed November 12, 2013
  11. Louisiana Secretary of State, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed February 11, 2015
  12. E-mail consultation with ballot access expert Richard Winger in January 2014.
  13. Louisiana Secretary of State, "Parish Board of Election Supervisor’s Handbook," February 5, 2014
  14. Federal Election Commission, "Federal Elections 2012," accessed April 1, 2014
  15. Louisiana Revised Statutes, "Title 18, Section 443," accessed April 2, 2014
  16. Louisiana Revised Statutes, "Title 18, Section 453,' Accessed April 2, 2014
  17. Louisiana Revised Statutes, "Title 18, Section 467," accessed April 2, 2014
  18. Louisiana Revised Statutes, "Title 18, Section 468," accessed April 2, 2014
  19. Louisiana Revised Statutes, "Title 18, Section 462," accessed April 2, 2014
  20. 20.0 20.1 Louisiana Secretary of State Website, "Qualify for an Election," accessed April 2, 2014
  21. 21.0 21.1 Louisana Revised Statutes, "Title 18, Section 461," accessed April 2, 2014
  22. Louisiana Revised Statutes, "Title 18, Section 461.1," accessed April 2, 2014
  23. Louisiana Revised Statutes, "Title 18, Section 463," accessed April 2, 2014
  24. Louisiana Revised Statutes, "Title 18, Section 464," accessed April 2, 2014
  25. 25.0 25.1 Louisiana Secretary of State, "Fees/Nominating Petitions to Qualify for Office," accessed April 2, 2014
  26. Louisiana Revised Statutes, "Title 18, Section 465," accessed April 2, 2014
  27. Louisiana Revised Statutes, "Title 18, Section 491," accessed April 2, 2014
  28. Louisiana Revised Statutes, "Title 18, Section 493," accessed April 2, 2014
  29. Louisiana Secretary of State Website, "How Are Candidates Elected?" accessed November 12, 2013
  30. Louisiana Revised Statutes, "Title 18, Section 483," accessed April 2, 2014
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Louisiana Revised Statutes, "Title 18, Section 465," accessed April 2, 2014
  32. Louisiana Constitution, "Article IV, Section 3," accessed November 12, 2013
  33. Louisiana Constitution, "Article III, Section 4," accessed November 12, 2013