LIVINGSTON — The recount has now been paid for and an official recount is now scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 19 in the hotly contested Livingston Parish Sheriff’s race that saw incumbent Jason Ard re-elected by just 115 votes Saturday.
Livingston Parish Clerk of Court Jason Harris said McMasters’ campaign wrote a letter requesting a recount for the sheriff’s race on Monday, Oct. 16. They had until 4:30 pm on Oct. 17 to pay the fees for the recount. As of 10:30 am, the required $778.13 fee has been paid.
“We need transparency. The vote came down to 50/50 so this gives peace to everybody and it gives clarification to both candidates,” said Killian Alderman Brent Ballard, who officially requested the recount on behalf of Brett McMasters. “This begins the healing process for Livingston Parish.”
McMasters, a military veteran and Walker businessman, received 49.84% of the vote in Saturday’s election, according to complete but unofficial election returns. McMasters ran to improve the department’s handling of crimes against children directly challenging Ard’s leadership in handling the Dennis Perkins scandal. Perkins was a SWAT commander who pled guilty numerous sex charges involving juveniles and adults.
Incumbent Jason Ard took away 50.16% of the votes with the two candidates separated by 115 votes.
Unfiltered with Kiran called Brett McMasters for a comment, but he said he would return the call and has not done so as of this report. He did publicly post to his official social media:
“Citizens of Livingston Parish, I’m aware that a recount was put in today by a supporter of the campaign. Let me be first to say that I respect Jason Harris and the Clerk of Courts office for the fine job they do. I have received several hundred calls, messages and text about conducting a recount for peace of mind of our citizens over the past 36 hours. Upon completion of the recount, please accept the outcome and let’s move forward together. I am taking some much needed R&R this week with the family. Thank you for your support through all this. Strength and Honor, De Oppresso Liber!”
The recount will take place Thursday with over 2,000 absentee ballots that have to be recounted. The recount does not include recounting the machines from Saturday. As in every parish around the state, on the third day after elections, every clerk of court is required to certify the votes to verify there were no mistakes. If there were any mistakes, they’re reported to the Secretary of State’s Office. If there are no mistakes, the clerk of court certifies the results and turns that over to the Secretary of State’s Office.
Essentially, the certifying is equivalent to recounting the votes. Clerk of Court Jason Harris reported there were no errors and all votes have been verified and certified. Thursday will be a recount of all the mailed in absentee ballots.
Livingston Parish Registrar Jerad Andrews says nearly 90% of the mail in ballots are people who are over the age of 65. The other 10% include military personnel and people in circumstances where they cannot physically get to a poll to vote.
According to the Secretary of State’s website, the candidate requesting the recount is responsible for all costs associated with the recount, including but not limited to $150 to each of the five members or authorized members’ designee of the parish board of election supervisors. If the recount changes the outcome of the election, the recount expenses are returned to the candidate or voter and then paid by the state.