Secretary Kyle Ardoin forms non-elected commission to oversee Louisiana elections

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    Voting machine bill passes Senate committee
    Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin testifies in front of the House and Governmental Affairs Committee regarding his proposed emergency election plan on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Photo by Wes Muller/LA Illuminator).

    Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has formed a commission of non-elected officials to provide an overview of the state’s election processes. The Louisiana Commission on Election Integrity and Voting will hold its first meeting after the conclusion of the 2021 regular legislative session, which ends June 10.

    “Despite the challenges brought on by natural disasters and a global pandemic, the 2020 Presidential election in Louisiana was free from controversy as seen in other states around the country,” Ardoin said in a press release Tuesday. “With a record turnout of 70.1% in approximately 4,000 precincts across the state, our results were fully uploaded just after midnight.”

    But despite being a “national leader in election administration,” Ardoin said questions have been raised about Louisiana’s election procedures by voters with “stories of voting issues” elsewhere in the country.

    Chaired by former state Rep. Quentin Dastugue, the commission will be comprised of a diverse group of experts in the fields of election administration, cybersecurity, technology, business and industry, and it will seek to answer the following questions:

    1. “How do we assure continued confidence in our elections?”
    2. “How do we combat voter fatigue?”
    3. “How do we improve voters’ experiences?”

    The commission is asked to issue their final report to Ardoin no later than Feb. 1, 2022.

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    Wesley Muller
    Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the following 22 years since then, he has worked as a journalist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. Much of his work has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and watchdog coverage of municipal and state government. He has received several honors and recognitions, including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus, a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper, and an adjunct English teacher at Baton Rouge Community College. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his teenage son and his wife, who is also a journalist.