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Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher July 14, 2020

Woman who says she was barred from voting in La. GOP primary was actually a Democrat.

If Your Time is short

  • A woman claimed in a viral video that she is a Republican and was prevented from voting in a Republican primary.

  • Where she lives in Louisiana, the July 11 primary was closed  — you had to be a registered Republican to vote in the GOP primary, or a registered Democrat to vote in the Democratic primary.

  • Local election officials said the woman was not allowed to vote in the GOP primary because she was a registered Democrat.

A supporter of President Donald Trump claimed in a video that she was denied the right to vote for Trump and other Republicans in Lousiana’s July 11 primary election.

The five-minute video, which is also on YouTube, had been shared 75,000 times on Facebook within six hours after it was posted by conservative commentator David Harris Jr.

"Could this be a trend? This better not keep happening! Everyone needs to see this!" Harris wrote.

The Facebook post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

In fact, according to local officials, the woman was prevented from voting in the Republican primary because she was a registered Democrat.

The video

In the video, the woman is wearing a baseball hat that says, "Yes, I’m a Trump girl, get over it." As she begins to speak, text on the screen says: "Registered Republican not allowed to vote!" 

The woman said that when she entered the polling place, "I couldn’t vote for my party. The Republican lights would not light up." She made an apparent reference to a poll worker who, she said, told her that she must not be registered properly. She said he checked and told her she is registered as a Democrat; she objected, insisting she is registered Republican. She said the poll worker told her she could not vote for any Republicans in that day’s election and would have to change her party registration in order to vote Republican in the next primary election. 

The woman finishes her video by saying: "Go, Trump."

How we know it’s Louisiana

The woman didn’t identify herself or specify where she lived, but she did refer to Lafayette.

The U.S. election calendar is pretty light in July, but Louisiana did hold its presidential primary on July 11, two days before the posting of the video. The primary originally was scheduled for April 4, but was rescheduled twice because of the coronavirus.

As expected, Trump won the GOP primary and former Vice President Joe Biden won the Democratic primary.

Featured Fact-check

Two hours west of New Orleans, the city of Lafayette is the seat of Lafayette Parish. In Louisiana, 40 parishes, including Lafayette, have closed presidential primaries. Only registered Democratic voters can vote in the Democratic Party primary, registered Republicans in the Republican Party primary and registered Independents in the Independent Party primary. These primaries are closed to all other registered voters.

Lafayette election officials received about 250 calls on election day, most of them from people complaining that they couldn't vote for the candidate of their choice in the closed primary, the Acadiana Advocate reported.

All of the problems were because the individuals were registered with one political party and wanted to vote for a candidate in another party, said Lafayette Parish Registrar of Voters Charlene Menard, according to the newspaper. "Of all the phone calls we received," she said, "not one was our error."

The local officials also addressed the video. According to the Advocate:

"A Lafayette Parish woman wearing a Trump hat posted a video on Facebook on Saturday saying she was not allowed to vote and putting the blame on election officials, alleging corruption.

"Menard and Clerk of Court Louis Perret both contacted the woman, providing her with her voter registration information that shows she is registered as a Democrat. She originally was registered as a Democrat, switched it to Republican around 2011, then got online and switched her voter registration back to Democrat, they said.

"As recently as April, she updated her address and kept her registration as a Democrat, Perret said. ‘Her allegations are completely baseless and false,’ he added."

Similar problems in Oregon

In May, we examined complaints that Republican voters in Oregon, which does all balloting by mail, received the wrong ballots for that state’s closed primary election. We found that many voters didn’t realize which party they were registered under.

Oregon voters registered as Republicans receive ballots with Republican primary races on them and voters registered as Democrats get ballots with Democratic races. Nonpartisan contests appear on both ballots. Anger and confusion surfaced when some voters received ballots with only nonpartisan races.

State Rep. Mike Nearman, a Republican, told PolitiFact at the time that his office received hundreds of complaints from voters who say they received the wrong ballot. He said that after speaking to some GOP voters, it was clear they had forgotten they had changed their status from GOP to unaffiliated after, for example, getting mad at a particular GOP politician.

Our ruling

A video widely shared on Facebook claimed: "Registered Republican not allowed to vote."

The woman in the video said that she is a Republican and was prevented from voting in a Republican primary. Where she lives in Louisiana, the July 11 primary was closed: Only registered Republicans could vote in the GOP primary. Local officials said the woman was not allowed to vote in the GOP primary because she was a registered Democrat.

We rate the claim False.

Our Sources

Facebook, post (archived here), July 13, 2020

YouTube, "Registered Republican not allowed to Vote," July 13, 2020

PolitiFact, "Were Oregon voters mailed the ‘wrong’ ballots for the primary election?", May 22, 2020

Louisiana Secretary of State, "Review Types Of Elections," accessed July 13, 2020 

Louisiana Secretary of State, "July 11, 2020, Presidential Preference Primary Election Quick Facts," accessed July 13, 2020

The Acadiana Advocate, "Lafayette early voter turnout sharply down from first day average during first COVID-19 era election, registrar says," June 21, 2020

The Acadiana Advocate, "250 voter complaints Saturday in Lafayette Parish due to wrong party," July 13, 2020

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