Secretary Of State Kyle Ardoin issues statement about vote buying conspiracy sentencing

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin issued a statement on the sentencing of two former elected officials in Amite City convicted of violating federal election laws. Former Amite City Chief of Police Jerry Trabona and Amite City councilman Kristian Hart were each sentenced to one year in prison for conspiring to pay, or offering to pay, voters for voting in a federal election.


“Any case of election fraud is a grave matter. It can undermine our faith in the democratic process and deter citizens from voting. Alleged violations of state and federal election laws should always be thoroughly examined, and if needs be, prosecuted,” Ardoin stated. “The Department of State’s Elections Compliance Unit investigators provided records and support to federal authorities throughout the course of this investigation and eventual prosecution. In 2021, the unit, along with our partners from the Louisiana Department of Justice, also helped bring charges against former Amite City Mayor Pro Tempore and councilman Emmanuel Zanders III. I am incredibly proud of the work done by the Elections Compliance Unit in bringing all the facts of these cases to light.”


Two additional Louisianians, Calvin Batiste and Louis Ruffino, are expected to be sentenced for their involvement in the vote buying conspiracy in the near future.


For more information about the Secretary of State’s Elections Division, visit or call 225.922.0900. To report suspected cases of election fraud or violations of the election code, contact the Election Fraud Hotline at 1.800.722.5305