BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The committee to incorporate the City of St. George says it turned in more than 18,000 signatures Monday morning to the Registrar of Voters, which could allow voters in unincorporated East Baton Rouge Parish to weigh in on the issue in the March election.
"They came in around 10 this morning and they submitted the petition," said EBR Registrar Elaine Lamb. "I freaked out, almost, because early voting starts tomorrow. They said they wanted to drop the petition off and they're not in a hurry for us to get on it because they know about the elections, but their goal is for the March election. We will probably not start on that for another week or so, but we'll get to it and get it done."
Organizers want to form their own city.
In a statement on the City of St. George Facebook page, officials wrote: "This morning, the Committee to Incorporate the City of St. George turned in over 18,000 petition signatures to the East Baton Rouge Parish Registrar of Voters' office. We chose to turn the petition in early due to the constant efforts by the City of Baton Rouge to undermine the democratic process. This petition is a testament to the legitimate concerns of nearly 20,000 registered voters in this parish. We will continue to aggressively gather signatures until an election is called."
The Registrar of Voters officials have to determine that 16,500 signatures are valid in order for a vote on the issue to proceed.
"We're going to take each sheet and we're going to check every signature to make sure the signature matches with our records of registered voters," said Lamb. "If for some reason we cannot make out the signature, then we'll go to previous poll books. Our biggest thing is just to make sure the voter is in that area. We only have one split prescient in there, so I do not anticipate any problems with that.
"Once we verify the signatures, we'll certify it and then deliver it to the Governor. If we get down to the end and they don't have enough names, then they have 60 days to bring more names."
Lamb says it will take them over a month to verify all of the signatures.