Since 1977 state elections in Louisiana have used a unique system similar to the majority-runoff system used in some other jurisdictions, which in Louisiana has become known as a "jungle" primary or an "open" primary, where all the candidates for an office run together in one election. If someone gets a majority, that individual wins outright; otherwise, the top two candidates, irrespective of partisan affiliation, meet in a runoff election. This primary system is used for state, parish, municipal, and congressional races, but is not used for presidential elections.
Louisiana is one of only five states that elects its state officials in odd-numbered years. (The others are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia). Louisiana holds elections for these offices every four years in the year preceding a presidential election. Thus, the two most recent gubernatorial elections in Louisiana took place in 2015 and 2019. Louisiana is one of 18 states that run separate elections for governor and lieutenant governor, a process that has resulted in governor-lieutenant governor pairs from different parties and/or widely differing political ideologies. For example, current governor John Bel Edwards is a Democrat, while Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser is a Republican.
Louisiana's unique primary system was instituted in 1975 by Democratic governor Edwin Edwards. Until 1997, the open primary election was held in October, meaning that no election would be held in November if the leading candidate won over 50 percent of the vote in October. Between 2008 and 2010, federal races did not use the jungle primary system. Between the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Shelby County v. Holder (a 2013 Supreme Court case), changes to Louisiana election law required preclearance with the United States Department of Justice.
In a 2020 study, Louisiana was ranked as the 24th hardest state for citizens to vote in.
State legislation related to the administration of elections introduced in 2011 through this year, 2020