NOLAtoya.ORG to Register of Voters: We’ll Make the February 22 Deadline


The campaign to recall Mayor LaToya Cantrell notified Dr. Sandra Wilson, Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters, that “on or no later than February 22” they will be delivering petitions signed by “tens of thousands of New Orleans registered voters” who want Cantrell out of office. The formal notification came in the form of a letter hand delivered by chairman Belden Batiste on Tuesday, February 14. 

Dr. Wilson and her staff will be responsible for reviewing each petition to ensure the signee is a registered voter and that the signature was witnessed. “We wanted to give the Registrar a heads-up in advance so that she could begin planning for the certification process,” said Batiste. Once the petitions are submitted, Dr. Wilson will have 20 days to complete the review. After the requisite number of signatures needed (approximately 50,000) are authenticated, an election will be scheduled at which voters will decide whether Cantrell should complete her term of office.  

Dr. Wilson has already come under fire by at least one recall leader. On Saturday, February 11, the Recall van was parked at a meter outside City Hall to give registered voters an opportunity to sign the petition. Citizens were expected to vote early that day in the HB 93 race to replace now Senator Royce Duplessis.

By mid-morning, a representative from Wilson’s office and a deputy sheriff working at City Hall approached the van and demanded it be moved for violating a state law which prohibits campaigning within 600 feet of a polling location. Because the recall is not currently on the ballot, officials argued they were legally parked. The sheriff’s deputy went to his car to retrieve a firearm and called the NOPD to forcibly remove the van and its occupants including Batiste and Gary Balliet. After a twenty-minute stand-off, the NOPD departed and the Recall van remained parked. It is believed that Mayor Cantrell may have encouraged Wilson to question the Recall van’s location. “This is just another instance of on-going intimidation by the New Orleans city government and the NOPD. I am a peaceful man. Why did the deputy sheriff need a gun? Why did he make an emergency call to the police? Why did the deputy and the 8th District officer refuse to provide me with their names or badge numbers? ” Batiste asked.  

Earlier this week Batiste filed a complaint about the incident with Office of Independent Police Monitor Stella Cziment which referred the case to the NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau. “I will continue to fight intimidation from City Hall whenever necessary. Every citizen should be treated with dignity and respect,” Batiste concluded.

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