Recall petition drive against Mayor Cantrell enters the homestretch

Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 10:11 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As the petition drive to trigger a recall election for New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell enters its final week, organizers appear intent on inspiring as many 11th-hour signees as possible, a Fox 8 political analyst said Tuesday (Feb. 14).

Organizers of the recall effort said in a Monday night social media post that they were only 1,029 signatures away from the petition’s goal of just under 50,000 signees.

The group last week settled a lawsuit filed by a New Orleans Advocate/ reporter by agreeing to provide names and addresses of petition signees to fulfill a public records request next Wednesday (Feb. 22), the same day the petition must be submitted to the Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters for signature verification.

“I think there was some chilling effect,” Fox 8 political analyst and Dillard University public policy professor Dr. Robert Collins said. “And that’s why I think the recall organizers released the number that they were this close, so that people know, ‘OK, you’re not going to do this in vain if you put your name on this petition. We are going to be successful.’

“I think that they feel confident that they’re going to make it, but they wanted to put this number out to let anyone know that’s on the fence, ‘We’re close, we need you to go ahead and sign the petition, send your mailer back in.’ So, I think they’re feeling very confident.”

According to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website, all signatures must be handwritten and witnessed, and for the petition to succeed it must be signed by at least 20 percent of the eligible, active registered voters of Orleans Parish.

The Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters will have 20 working days to certify the signatures submitted next week, and not all will prove valid or qualified, Collins said.

“I think there’s a very high probability that 1,000, maybe 2,000, of the signatures are going to be invalidated and decertified,” he said. “So, they have to have a fairly large cushion. I would say they probably need a cushion of at least 3,000 signatures.”

If the recall petition is certified successful, it then would be forwarded to Gov. John Bel Edwards, who must issue a recall election date proclamation within 15 days. Recall elections have been happening in the state since 1966, according to the secretary of state’s website.

“We have had successful recalls in the state of Louisiana,” Collins said. “But I think what makes this unique is when they’ve happened in the past -- generally -- they’ve been in rural parishes, small cities where it’s easier to have a recall because you don’t need as many signatures.”

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