Elections in Louisiana—with the exception of U.S. presidential elections—follow a variation of the open primary system called the jungle primary. Candidates of any and all parties are listed on one ballot; voters need not limit themselves to the candidates of one party. Unless one candidate takes more than 50% of the vote in the first round, a run-off election is then held between the top two candidates, who may in fact be members of the same party. In this election, the first round of voting was held on October 22, 1983. Since Edwards won more than 50% of the votes on the first round, no runoff was needed.
This was the first time that any contestant for the governors election in Louisiana received at least one million votes.