§434.  Commissioners and alternate commissioners; selection; commission; disqualification; replacement

A.  Time and place of selection.  (1)  The parish board of election supervisors shall meet at 10:00 a.m. on the twenty-ninth day before a primary election to select the commissioners and alternate commissioners for each precinct.  The meeting shall be open to the public.  The board shall have previously posted a notice on the front courthouse door designating the location within the courthouse where the meeting is to be held.

(2)  The board shall publish at least one notice, in the official journal of the parish, of the date, time, and location of the meeting herein required.  The notice shall be published at least five days prior to the date of the meeting.

B.  Method of selection.  The number of commissioners required for each precinct for the election and the same number of alternate commissioners shall be selected for each precinct from the certified list furnished by the parish board as required in R.S. 18:431(A)(4) in the following manner:

(1)  The names of all the qualified commissioners for each precinct shall be compiled on one list, in alphabetical order according to surnames, and numbered consecutively from first to last.

(2)  The parish board of election supervisors shall select a person to conduct the drawing.

(3)  A ball made of plastic or a similar material with a number corresponding to each of the numbers on the compiled list of proposed commissioners for a precinct shall be placed in a receptacle and thoroughly mixed.  The members of the parish board of election supervisors may participate in the mixing.

(4)  The person conducting the drawing shall draw the same number of balls as the number of commissioners required to serve the precinct at the election from the receptacle and shall announce and publicly display the number on each ball as it is drawn.  Each person whose number on the compiled list of commissioners corresponds with the number on a ball drawn from the receptacle shall be a commissioner for the precinct unless he has already been selected as the commissioner-in-charge for the precinct.

(5)  If one of the persons selected already has been selected as the commissioner-in-charge, the ball drawn for that person shall be set aside, and the drawing shall continue until a person not previously selected as the commissioner-in-charge is selected.

(6)  The parish board of election supervisors may opt to select one of the commissioners needed in each precinct from the lists of all persons qualified to serve as a commissioner in the entire parish, without utilizing the selection process set forth in Paragraphs (2) through (5) of this Subsection. The parish board of election supervisors must vote unanimously for each precinct for which it makes such a selection.

(7)  When the appropriate number of commissioners have been selected, as provided in Paragraphs (4), (5), and (6) of this Subsection, the person conducting the drawing shall determine if each political party recognized pursuant to R.S. 18:441(C) having one or more local or municipal candidates on the ballot to be voted on in the precinct is represented by at least one commissioner.  If none, one ball shall be set aside for each political party recognized pursuant to R.S. 18:441(C) thus still to be represented, beginning with the last ball drawn for a person affiliated with a political party recognized pursuant to R.S. 18:441(C) that has more than one commissioner at the precinct.  The drawing shall continue until one of the persons affiliated with each of such political parties is selected, unless there are no remaining certified commissioners in the parish to represent such political parties.

(8)  After the appropriate number of commissioners have been selected for each of the precincts in an election, the person conducting the selection shall select the alternate commissioners by drawing additional balls from the receptacle for each of the precincts and shall announce and publicly display the number on each ball as it is drawn.  Each person whose number on the compiled list of qualified commissioners corresponds with the number on a ball drawn from the receptacle shall be an alternate commissioner for the precinct for which selected unless he already has been selected as the commissioner-in-charge for the precinct, in which event the ball drawn for that person shall be set aside and the drawing shall continue until a person not previously selected as the commissioner-in-charge for the precinct is selected.

(9)  The drawing shall continue in this manner until the appropriate number of commissioners and alternate commissioners have been selected for each precinct in each parish.  However, if there are not enough qualified commissioners to select the appropriate number of commissioners and alternate commissioners for each precinct, the parish board of election supervisors shall select a person to serve as a commissioner or an alternate commissioner from the list containing the names of persons within that ward who have received certificates of instruction from the clerk of court pursuant to R.S. 18:431(A)(1).  If no person on that list is available to serve as a commissioner or alternate commissioner, the parish board of election supervisors shall select any person within the parish who has received a certificate of instruction from the clerk of court pursuant to R.S. 18:431(A)(1).

C.  Commission. Once the commissioners and alternate commissioners are selected for a primary and general election, the parish board of election supervisors shall immediately:

(1)  Issue a commission to each person who was selected as a commissioner together with a written notice stating the time, date, and place of the course of instruction to be held before the election.

(2)  Issue a commission to each person who was selected as an alternate commissioner, together with a written notice stating the time, date, and place of the course of instruction to be held before the election and a written notice stating that an alternate commissioner who does not replace an absent or unqualified commissioner may serve as a watcher in the primary and general elections if his name is included on a timely filed list of watchers.

D.  Replacement of a commissioner.  (1)  If prior to the day of the election a commissioner notifies the parish board of election supervisors that he is unable to serve as commissioner, the parish board of election supervisors shall select an alternate commissioner to serve in place of the absent commissioner.  An alternate commissioner who replaces an absent commissioner in a primary election shall replace the absent commissioner in the general election.  If there are no alternate commissioners or an insufficient number of alternate commissioners available, the parish board of election supervisors shall select a person to serve as commissioner from the list containing the names of persons within that ward who have received certificates of instruction from the clerk of court pursuant to R.S. 18:431(A)(1).  If no person on that list is available to serve as commissioner, the parish board of election supervisors shall select any person within the parish who has received a certificate of instruction from the clerk of court pursuant to R.S. 18:431(A)(1).  If there is no such qualified person available, the parish board of election supervisors shall select a watcher.

(2)  If a commissioner fails to appear at the polling place at least thirty minutes before the time when the polls are to open on election day, or if a commissioner is selected as commissioner-in-charge, the commissioner-in-charge shall select an alternate commissioner to serve in place of the absent commissioner. An alternate commissioner who replaces an absent commissioner in a primary election shall replace the absent commissioner in the general election.  If there are no alternate commissioners or an insufficient number of alternate commissioners available, the commissioner-in-charge shall select a person to serve as commissioner from the list containing the names of those who have received certificates of instruction that was furnished him by the parish board of election supervisors pursuant to R.S. 18:431(A)(5).  If no person on that list is available to serve as commissioner, the commissioner-in-charge shall select any person present at the polls who possesses the qualifications of a commissioner as set forth in R.S. 18:425(B).  If there is no such qualified person available, the commissioner-in-charge shall select a watcher.

(3)  If by 8:00 a.m. on the day of the election the commissioner-in-charge has been unable to replace a commissioner pursuant to this Subsection, any replacement thereafter made shall require the approval of the clerk of court.

E.  Disqualification.  (1)  A commissioner who fails to appear at the polling place at least thirty minutes before the opening of the polls on election day is disqualified from serving as such in the next primary and general elections held in the ward where he is registered to vote unless he establishes to the satisfaction of the parish board of election supervisors that his absence was for just cause.

(2)  Upon a finding by the parish board of election supervisors that a certified commissioner has performed his duties in a negligent manner, after appropriate hearing and opportunity for the commissioner to be heard, the board shall disqualify the commissioner from service as a commissioner.  Such disqualification shall continue until the commissioner has been recertified as having again attended the course of instruction for commissioners conducted pursuant to R.S. 18:431(A) and as having achieved a satisfactory score on the test prepared by the secretary of state for that course of instruction.  Performance of duties in a negligent manner shall include failure to perform any of the duties of commissioner or performance of any of the duties of commissioner incorrectly.

F.  Removal for cause.  Any commissioner selected under the provisions of R.S. 18:434 may be removed for cause by the parish board of election supervisors at any time after his selection and before the closing of the polls on election day.  Any commissioner removed for cause under the provisions of this Subsection shall not serve as a commissioner in any election for twelve months after his removal.

Acts 1976, No. 697, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1978.  Amended by Acts 1977, No. 471, §1; Acts 1978, No. 292, §1, eff. July 6, 1978; Acts 1979, No. 229, §1, eff. July 13, 1979; Acts 1981, No. 77, §1, eff. June 26, 1981; Acts 1983, No. 519, §1, eff. July 8, 1983; Acts 1984, No. 672, §1; Acts 1986, No. 669, §1; Acts 1987, No. 831, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1988; Acts 1988, No. 374, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1989; Acts 1988, No. 907, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1989; Acts 1988, No. 909, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 179, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1990, No. 107, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1991; Acts 1991, No. 201, §1, July 2, 1991; Acts 1993, No. 418, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1994; Acts 1997, No. 1420, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; Acts 2001, No. 363, §1; Acts 2001, No. 451, §6, eff. Jan. 12, 2004; Acts 2006, No. 403, §1, eff. June 15, 2006; Acts 2006, No. 560, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2007; Acts 2007, No. 240, §1; Acts 2010, No. 570, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2011.