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Sulphur City Councilman contests results of March 26 election

Sulphur City Councilman Mike Koonce has contested the results of the March 26 election. Nick...
Sulphur City Councilman Mike Koonce has contested the results of the March 26 election. Nick Nezat defeated Koonce 169-143 in the race for District 2 Sulphur City Councilman - a difference of 26 votes.(KPLC)
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 11:05 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Sulphur City Councilman Mike Koonce has contested the results of the March 26 election.

Nick Nezat defeated Koonce 169-143 in the race for District 2 Sulphur City Councilman - a difference of 26 votes.

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

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

The petition is set for hearing at 10 a.m. Friday before Judge Kendrick Guidry, Calcasieu Clerk of Court Lynn Jones confirmed. It was initially assigned to Judge David Ritchie, who lives in Sulphur, but he recused himself.

Both Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin - whose office oversees elections - and Nezat are listed as defendants in the petition.

Koonce argues the following in his petition:

Upon information and belief, confusion and errors in the voting district boundaries changed the result of the Election, specifically as it relates to the boundaries of the council district prior to and after the redistricting as a result of the 2020 census.

Upon information and belief, individuals who appeared at the polls on election day were turned away by Commissioners, who informed the voters that they could not vote in the Election because they did not live in the voting district.

Upon information and belief, 30 voters on Matthew Street were not included in the Precinct Registers provided to the Commissioners.

Upon information and belief, more than one individual who resides on Erwin Street voted in the Election, despite the portion of Erwin Street where they reside not being included in the boundaries of Council District 2.

The Election returns show a margin of 26 votes, with Plaintiff receiving 143 votes and the other candidate receiving 169 votes.

Additionally, voters were not sent notices of the change in election districts; therefore, certain voters could have voted in Council District 2 but were unaware that they could vote in the Election.

Additionally, the early voting was not conducted during each day of the early voting period scheduled to begin on Saturday, March 12, 2022 and end on Saturday, March 19, 2022, resulting in some voters not casting votes.

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