Elections are held in our great parish
throughout the year. Some are local and some are parish wide. In
either case, this office works with the registrar of voters
office and the Louisiana Department of Elections to bring to you a fair and
honest system of voting.
The Elections Department qualifies
candidates for office in any local election while the Secretary of State in
Baton Rouge qualifies candidates on a state level.
This department is responsible for
conducting all training schools for Commissioners and Commissioner’s-in-Charge,
sending all notices to the election Commissioners, Commissioner’s-in-Charge,
voting machine key custodians and, deputy custodians where the precincts are
located. These notices inform everybody associated with an election of
the election date, hours, voting machine delivery and pickup and other vital
information concerning the election. The department also deals with any
problems that may arise on election day. When
the polls close and during the next few days after an election, the department
is busy processing all the information from election day.
This includes processing payroll for commissioners, disbursing results to the
media, confirming results with the Department of Elections, and unsealing of
machines and verifying the public counters on each machine.
The Parish Board of Election
Supervisors, of which the Clerk of Court chairs, meets before, during and,
after an election. Before an election, the board selects, at random,
qualified Commissioners to staff each precinct. During an election, the
Board convenes to count absentee ballots and after an election, the Board meets
once again to officially certify the election results before they are sent to
the Secretary of State’s Office.
more information, you may contact our office at (318) 965-2336.
Election Day is a busy day for the
Clerk of Court’s Office. We begin at 5:30 a.m. handling phone calls that
come in pertaining to questions and concerns at official polls.
Throughout the day, various precincts
are visited by the Clerk. She handles any issues or concerns of
commissioners or the public.
The Clerk is available all day to
handle any situation that needs to be addressed with concerns to that
particular election. When the polls close at 8:00 p.m., various areas are
set up where the Commissioner in Charge of each precinct take the elections
results to a deputy clerk, who in turn takes them to the Clerk at the
courthouse. The Clerk and deputy clerks are still monitoring calls and
preparing for the incoming election results.
At the same time that the information
is being processed by our election program, the same information is being sent
electronically to the Department of Elections in Baton Rouge. No human
interaction can tamper with the vote tabulation, therefore, election results
are precise and without error.
Watchers at polls are allowed, however here are some guidelines.
- Qualifications. A qualified voter who is
not entitled to assistance in voting and is not a candidate in the
election may serve as a watcher; provided that a watcher
who is not a resident of the parish where he serves, may not serve as a
- Powers and duties. A watcher shall be admitted
within all parts of the polling place during the election and the counting
and tabulation of votes, and shall call any infraction of the law to the
attention of the commissioners. A watcher may keep notes on the
conduct of the election, but he shall not take part in the counting and
tabulation of votes. A watcher shall not electioneer, engage in
political discussions, or unnecessarily delay a voter at the polling
place. A watcher shall be subject the authority of the commissioners
and shall not interfere with the commissioners in the performance of their
- Number of watchers inside a
polling place. If the
number of watchers inside a polling place is so great as to interfere with
the orderly conduct of the election, the commissioners shall regulate the
number of watchers inside the polling place for each precinct so that the
election may be conducted in an orderly manner. The watchers shall
draw lots under the supervision of the commissioners to determine which
watchers shall be the first to wait outside the polling place, but the
amount of time each watcher spends inside the polling place shall, as
nearly as practicable, be equal.
The commissioners shall regulate the number of watchers inside the polling
place as provided in R.S. 18:427 (Louisiana
Revised Statutes Election Code).
- Lists of watchers. A lists
of watchers shall be filed with the Parish Board of Elections Supervisors
before 5:00 p.m. on the tenth day before the primary or general
election. Except for a candidate, any person filing a list of
watchers must attach a certified statement that the report required by R.S. 18:1486 (Louisiana Revised Statutes Election
Code) has been filed with the supervisory committee in compliance with the
Campaign Finance Disclosure Act. If any candidate submits a list for
the primary election and does not submit a list for the general election,
the list submitted in the primary election shall be treated as his list
submitted for the general election. A list of watchers shall contain
only one watcher and one alternate watcher for each precinct where the
candidate or person submitting the list is entitled to have a
watcher. The list shall be typed or legibly written, and it shall
contain the name and mailing address of each watcher and a designation of
the precinct where he is to serve.
The Parish Board of Election
Supervisors shall promptly issue a commission to each watcher named on a timely
filed list of watchers. A person shall not be commissioned as a watcher
if he has been appointed as a Commissioner-in-Charge or selected as a
commissioner in the same election. A person selected as an alternate
commissioner may be commissioned as a watcher. However, if the alternate
commissioner must replace an absent or unqualified commissioner, he shall not
serve as a watcher in the same election and his commission as a watcher shall
be deemed void. Prior to the opening of the polls on election
day, the Parish Board of Election Supervisors shall deliver to each
precinct a list of watchers and alternate watchers who are entitled to serve at
the election. The list shall specify the precinct for which each watcher
is eligible to serve. A watcher must present his commission to the
Commissioner-in-Charge of the precinct for which each watcher is eligible to
serve prior to serving at the polling place.
A candidate, or person as defined
above, shall be entitled to have both a watcher and an alternate watcher serve
at the same precinct on election day. However,
the watcher and alternate watcher may not serve at the same time.
more information, you can call the Registrar of Voters Office
at (318) 965-2301 or our office at (318) 965-2336.
Election dates are set up a few years
in advance. Certain procedures must be followed in order to have an item
on the ballot. Special elections may also be called. Even though an
election is scheduled, in some cases the election may not be held. This is
true if there is an individual qualified to run for a political position and
there is no opposition and there is nothing else on the ballot. You may
contact your Police Jury to obtain more information.
Special General / Municipal Primary
Presidential Preference Primary and
Open Primary / Presidential /
Open General / Congressional
Commissioner Schools are held before
each election. They are designed for several reasons. They are as
- Lock-out information (This
pertains to certain people being able to vote on certain things at a
- Instructions on opening and
closing of polls.
- Reviewing responsibilities of
being a commissioner or commissioner-in-charge.
- Handing out of commissioner slips
for that election.
- Providing test for commissioners
and commissioners-in-charge who need to re-certify.
- Passing out of Sample Ballots.
- Guidelines for voter requirements.
- Open discussion on any questions.
These schools are open to the
public. If you would like to attend, you can contact either the Registrar
of Voter's Office at (318) 965-2301 or the Clerk of
Court's Office at (318) 965-2336 for dates and locations.
You may qualify as a commissioner by
taking an open book written test. To obtain an exam, you can contact the
Clerk of Court for more information.
Qualifications to be
a Commissioner-in-Charge are as follows:
- You shall be a qualified voter in
the parish in which you are to serve and is not entitled to assistance in
- You shall not be a candidate for
election to public office nor be a member of the immediate family of a
candidate for election to public office in the precinct in which you
- You shall not have been convicted
of an election offense enumerated in Chapter 10 of this Title (Louisiana
Revised Statutes Election Code), and
- Except as otherwise provided in R.S. 18:433 (Louisiana Revised Statutes Election
Code), you shall have successfully completed a general course of
instruction for Commissioners-in-Charge and provided you correct party
affiliation to the Clerk.
- You shall have served as a
commissioner in at least two elections during the last four years.
Powers and duties of a Commissioner-in-Charge include receiving the sealed
envelope containing the keys to the voting machines from the deputy parish
custodian of voting machines at least thirty minutes before the polls open on election day. Also they shall administer the oath to
the commissioners and preside over the election and printout the tabulation of
votes. They shall also deliver the keys to the voting machines, the
original of the machine certificates, the original of the signed list of
commissioners, and one of the original tabulation blank and compiled statement
forms to the Clerk of Court.
The Commissioner-in-Charge shall not
electioneer, engage in political discussions, unnecessarily delay a voter at
the polls, or prepare a list of persons voting at the polling place other than
the official poll lists.
Every Commissioner-in-Charge shall take
the constitutional oath or affirmation. The original oath, signed by the
Commissioner-in-Charge and the officer administering the oath, shall be filed
with the Parish Board of Elections Supervisors before the day of the first
election during the term of office for which they have been selected to serve
Compensation. A Commissioner-in-Charge who serves at the polling place on
election day shall receive $250.
In addition to the
Commissioner-in-Charge at each poll, you are allowed a certain number of
commissioners to serve as well. This number is dependant
on the number of registered voters at that particular poll location.
Qualifications to be
a Commissioner are as follows:
- A qualified voter who is not
entitled to assistance in voting and is not a candidate in the election
may be selected as a commissioner in any precinct of the ward where he/she
is registered to vote, except pursuant to R.S.
18:434(B) and (D) (Louisiana Revised Statutes Election Code) in which case
you may be selected as a commissioner in any precinct of the parish where
you are registered to vote.
- No person shall be selected as a
commissioner in a precinct in which a member of your immediate family is a
candidate for election to public office.
- No person who has been convicted
of an election offense enumerated in Chapter 1o of this Title shall serve
as a commissioner.
- A person shall not serve as a
commissioner, except pursuant to R.S. 18:434(D)
(Louisiana Revised Statutes Election Code), unless he has attended a
course of instruction for commissioners, has received a certificate of
instruction during the term of office of the Clerk who conducted the
school, and has provided their correct party affiliation to the
Clerk. A commissioner who has received this certificate shall be
classified as a certified commissioner. A commissioner selected
pursuant to R.S. 18:434(D) (Louisiana Revised
Statutes Election Code), who has not been issued such a certificate, shall
be classified as an uncertified commissioner.
The commissioners shall conduct primary
and general elections at each polling place, shall enforce the election laws, and
shall maintain order at the polling place during the election and the
processing of vote tabulation at their particular poll.
A commissioner shall not electioneer,
engage in political discussions, unnecessarily delay a voter at the polling
place, or prepare a list of persons voting at the polling place other than the
official poll lists.
On election day,
before a commissioner enters upon the performance of their duties, they shall
take the constitutional oath or affirmation. The Commissioner-in-Charge shall
administer the oath.
Compensation. A commissioner who serves at the polling place on election day and who has received a certificate of
instruction as provided in R.S. 18:431(A) (Louisiana
Revised Statutes Election Code) shall receive $100. A commissioner who
serves at a polling place on election day and who has
received a certificate of instruction as provided in R.S.
18:431(B) (Louisiana Revised Statutes Election Code) shall receive $200.
An uncertified commissioner who serves at the polling place on election day shall receive $35.
Bossier Parish Clerk of Court
204 Burt Blvd., Third Floor / P.O. Box 430
Benton, LA 71006