PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - Lawyers for recalled Port Allen Mayor Deedy Slaughter filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice Wednesday afternoon claiming black voters are being intimidated.
Slaughter's lawyers are asking for federal election monitors to be dispatched to Port Allen for Saturday, April 5th's election and any other elections that may follow.
This deals with an investigation into possible voter fraud in the Port Allen mayoral election.
The election date is this Saturday, but fraud allegations surfaced last week during early voting. The parish registrar received numerous requests by fax for early voting mail-in applications, but they say hundreds of those requests did not match up with the voter information that's on file.
Deputies with the West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Department have been looking into those fraud claims. Slaughter's lawyer Ron Johnson said those deputies went to houses asking people if they requested a ballot and if they voted for Deedy Slaughter. The Sheriff's Department denies the allegations, saying they have not asked anyone who they voted for.
Slaughter was recalled by voters last year and she's running for Mayor again, along with three others.
In the letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, Johnson said "The elderly and/or disabled voters have indicated that they felt intimidated and threatened and that is the intent of the Sheriff's Office to suppress the black vote. Some are afraid to return the voting ballot."
Slaughter's lawyer, Ronald Johnson, said "When you have the authority of a badge with you when you go in and basically the manner in which you conduct the inquiry, most residents when the law enforcement officers come to their home, they're scared and worried,"
Col. Richie Johnson with the West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office responded with "We will not allow our criminal investigation to be undermined or dictated by any candidate's subversive tactics. If the Justice Department joins the investigation now, maybe it will save them a trip at a later date."
Col. Johnson said, "The investigation is ongoing and gaining momentum which would probably explain the apprehensiveness on the part of anyone who may be involved in the wrongdoing of voter fraud in this election."
Slaughter's lawyer also sent the official complaint to the Louisiana Attorney General, Secretary of State and Commissioner of Elections.